Half the wealth of the world owned by just 1%

Rest of 99% have very little and ‘inequality is staggering’ says Oxfam

GN Bureau | January 19, 2015



This ratio that you are about to read is irrational by any standards. Last year 48% of world’s wealth was owned by just 1% and next year they will have 50%.

It means, the wealth accumulated by the richest 1% will exceed that of the other 99% in 2016, the Oxfam charity said on Monday. The charity's research shows that the share of the world's wealth owned by the richest 1% increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% last year. Oxfam expects the wealthiest 1% to own more than 50% of the world's wealth by 2016.

Last year the 85 richest people has the same wealth as the poorest 50% (3.5 billion people). And comparison becomes even more stark, with the 80 richest people in possession of the same wealth as the poorest 50% by next year.

"The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast," Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima said.

The Oxfam research coincides with the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday. Byanyima will co-chair the Davos event. "Do we really want to live in a world where the one percent own more than the rest of us combined?" she said on Monday.

The 45th World Economic Forum that runs from Wednesday to Saturday will draw a record number of participants this year with more than 300 heads of state and government attending.

The charity is calling on governments to adopt a seven-point plan to tackle inequality, including a clampdown on tax evasion and the move towards a living wage for all workers. "It is time our leaders took on the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world,” the Oxfam said.

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