An Economy for the 1%

Ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which begins tomorrow, Oxfam yesterday published its excellent report on global inequality, “An Economy for the 1%”. The report presents the stark facts of wealth inequality: 1% of the world’s population has now accumulated more wealth than the rest of the world put together.

Click to access bp210-economy-one-percent-tax-havens-180116-en_0.pdf

Oxfam also highlights the widening gap between rich and poor; the 62 richest people in the world now hold the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity, a figure which has contracted from 388 individuals in 2010. Furthermore, the wealth of the richest 62 people has increased by 44% in the last five years, while the wealth of the poorest half of the population has dropped by 41%, so the rich are literally getting richer and the poor poorer. The report illustrates these statistics with some nice graphics, such as the one below:

From an ecological perspective, the report also notes that the poorest half of the population are responsible for only 10% of global emissions, but they are the most vulnberable to climate change.

In addition, Oxfam discuss tax avoidance, stating that 90% of the 200 of the “world’s top companies” they analysed “have a presence in at least one tax haven” (Oxfam, 2015:5).

The report includes sections on pay inequalities at work, including a discussion of CEO wages, tax havens and spotlights on particular sectors e.g. extractive, financial, garment. Oxfam’s ultimate recommendations, which include “pay workers a living wage” and “change the global system for R&D and the pricing of medicines”, are outlined on pages 33-35.

For more information on the World Economic Forum, see below. This year’s theme is the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. More analysis in a later post…

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