The 162 richest people on the planet boast the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent – 3.85 billion – in the world.
From Tuesday, January 21, nearly 3,000 delegates – including 53 heads of state – from 117 countries, participated in the WEF summit in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. According to the website blurb, the WEF Annual Meeting is “the foremost creative force for engaging the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities to shape global, regional and industry agendas at the beginning of each year”.
This year’s topic, for the great and the good of the business world and politics, is “stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world”. While the hellish fires raging in Australia fan the flames for climate change, the perverse irony that most of the 774 public speakers will have been flown into the summit will not be lost on the people who are truly concerned about the heating of the world.
Similarly, that many of the wealthiest people in the world will gather to no doubt use the WEF platform to further boost their riches, through additional business deals and contacts, while vowing to help those less fortunate is alarming to Oxfam. Hence why every year at this precise time the leading charity publishes the latest data showing the gulf between the globe’s haves and have nots.
A Man’s World? But Nothing Without Women
The Oxfam report shows that the world’s 22 richest men have more wealth than all the women in Africa. Furthermore, women and girls are putting in 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work every day – tending to children and the elderly, for instance — which amounts to a contribution to the global economy of at least $10.8 trillion a year (more than three times the size of the global tech industry).
“When 22 men have more wealth than all the women in Africa combined, it’s clear that our economy is just plain sexist,” says Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam GB Chief Executive.
“One way that our upside-down economic system deepens inequality is by chronically undervaluing care work – usually done by women, who are often left little time to get an education, earn a decent living or have a say in how our societies are run, and are therefore trapped in poverty.”
“If world leaders meeting this week are serious about reducing poverty and inequality, they urgently need to invest in care and other public services that make life easier for those with care responsibilities, and tackle discrimination holding back women and girls.”
“Bloomberg [has] just shown how 500 people last year got over a $1 trillion richer. While estimates of overall wealth and the wealth share of the bottom 50 percent fluctuate from one year to the next, the overall picture of incredible levels of wealth inequality remains shockingly high.”
Much in the same way climate change should have been on the agenda years ago – long before Greenland’s glaciers began to melt and ahead of Australia’s ongoing and unprecedented wildfires, which have claimed the lives of approximately 500 million animals – it is time for the world to wake up to financial imbalance, and take action now.
GoodDollar is a not-for-profit foundation whose driving ambition is to reduce global wealth inequality through a combination of universal basic income (UBI) principles and blockchain. Aside from the headline number of 162 billionaires owning as much as half of the world, a raft of other calculations from the new Oxfam report justified our mission and strengthened our resolve and determination to strive for financial change.
Consider the following:
- The 162 richest people on the planet boast the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent — 3.85 billion — in the world.
- Half the global population earns less than $5.5 a day ($120 a month).
- 500 people last year got over a $1 trillion richer.
- Getting the richest 1 percent to pay just 0.5 percent extra tax on their wealth over the next 10 years could raise enough money to create 117 million jobs, including 79 million in education, health and social care, which would help close the current care gap.
- The stage is set: help us at GoodDollar to reduce global wealth inequality, before it is too late.
According to an Oxfam report, India’s top 10 per cent of the population holds 74.3 per cent of the total national wealth while the bottom 90 percent holds 25.7 percent of national wealth.
The report said that the number of billionaires since the global financial crisis has nearly doubled with a new billionaire created every two days.
“Over the last year, the total wealth of India has increased by US$ 625.5 billion.The wealth of the top 1 per cent increased by 46 per cent while the bottom 50 per cent saw wealth increase at just 3 per cent.,” the report said.
Analysis of billionaire wealth showed that there are 15 billionaires from the consumer goods industry and more than 10 billionaires from the pharmaceuticals industry in 2019.
Another figure that shows growing inequality in the country is that the wealth of top 9 billionaires is equivalent to the wealth of the bottom 50 per cent of the population.
Persistent inequality has negative implications for macroeconomic stability and inclusive economic growth. Wealth concentrations can lead to decision-making power being restricted to a few while also resulting in significant adverse social impacts such as rising crime, the report noted.
“Rising inequality also compromises the pace of poverty reduction and compounds inequalities between various social groups such as men and women in terms of access to health, education, and opportunities,” it said.
According to the report, it would take a female domestic worker 22,277 years to earn what a top CEO of a technology company makes in one year. With earnings pegged at Rs 106 per second, a tech CEO would make more in 10 minutes than what an average domestic worker would make in one year. (IANS)