IPANEWS

The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer around the world, says a critical Oxfam report

Twenty-six billionaires around the world have so much that it compares to 50% of what the world’s poor possess.

This shocking statistic is found in the latest report by Oxfam. Oxfam was founded in 1942 is a confederation twenty charity organisations fighting global poverty.

The organisation, which normally releases its annual report during the course of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, has found an unfair distribution of income in the world is on the rise.

The report says the assets owned by the 26 richest billionaires equal to the 3.8 billion people’s wealth, which is $1,4 trillion. This number of people points the poorest half of the planet’s population, according to the research.

Anti-poverty campaigner Oxfam said the rich had grown richer and the poor poorer in 2018.

“The massive fall in the number of people living in extreme poverty is one of the greatest achievements of the past quarter of a century but rising inequality is jeopardising further progress,” said Matthew Spencer, Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy.

The organisation suggested an implementation a one percent wealth tax as an aim to prevent the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Researchers estimate to raise $418 billion a year with this percentage of tax.

They argue this amount is enough to educate every child unable to attend school and provide healthcare that would prevent three million deaths.

Oxfam criticised governments, saying they are exacerbating inequality by underfunding public services, such as healthcare and education, while under-taxing corporations and the wealthy.

Over 2,200 billionaires across the world increased their wealth by $900bn last year, according to the report. This means they earned $2,5bn more a day.

In exchange for the 12% increase in the wealth of the richest people, the poorest, half of the world’s population, became 11% poorer.

The number of the richest decreased, too, the report says. In 2016, the number of billionaires owning as much as half the world’s population was 61. While it was recorded as 43 in 2017 and now lowered to 26.

“The size of your bank account should not dictate how many years your children spend in school, or how long you live – yet this is the reality in many countries across the globe,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International.

The world’s wealthiest man has been declared as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, with a $112 billion fortune. Oxfam research concluded just one percent of his total wealth is approximately equivalent to the health budget of Ethiopia, with a population of 105 million.   

Byanyima said people across the globe were angry and frustrated: “Governments must now deliver real change by ensuring corporations and wealthy individuals pay their fair share of tax and invest this money in free healthcare and education.”

Spencer articulated: “It doesn’t have to be this way. There is enough wealth in the world to provide everyone with a fair chance in life.”

The report notes that about 10,000 people per day die due to lack of healthcare.

Spencer said: “Governments should act to ensure that taxes raised from wealth and businesses paying their fair share are used to fund free, good-quality public services that can save and transform people’s lives.”

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