While poverty numbers across the globe are alarming, the bigger, more shocking news is that the world’s 26 richest billionaires own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50% – 3.8 billion – of the world, as per a report by a development charity Oxfam.
The numbers were presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, suggesting that 2018 saw the rich grow richer and the poor getting poorer while saying that a 1% wealth tax, amounting to $418 billion, would prevent 3 million deaths and would be enough to educate every child currently not in school across the world.
The richest 1% captured 27 cents in every dollar of global income growth compared to 12 cents captured by the poorest 50% between 1980 and 2016, suggests the World Inequality Report 2018.
The wealth of the ultra-rich increased by 12% ($900 billion or $2.5 billion a day) as compared to an 11% decline in the wealth of the poorest in 2018, meaning that the number of richest billionaires owning as much as half of the world’s population reduced from 61% to 43% and now 26%, from 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.
The report also highlighted that the world saw a new billionaire created every two days in 2018. The whole health budget for Ethiopia, home to 105 million people, equals just 1% of the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos’ fortunes ($112 billion).
In the last ten years, the number of billionaires has nearly doubled and now stands at 2200.
The richest 10% residents of the United Kingdom pay 34% of the effective tax rates as compared to the poorest 10% who pay 49%.
Matthew Spencer, Oxfam’s Director of Campaigns and Policy said:
There is enough wealth in the world to provide everyone with a fair chance in life. 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.
With 262 million children not in school due to affordability issues and 10,000 people dying due to lack of healthcare, the governments need to invest in public services instead of making inequality worse.
While China has successfully reduced poverty in the past four decades, the rate of poverty reduction has almost halved since 2013 whereas sub-Saharan Africa is witnessing an increase in extreme poverty.
Oxfam’s results have been calculated based on the data from Credit Suisse global wealth data book – for assessing the inequality gap – and Forbes 2018 billionaires’ list was used to account for the billionaires’ wealth.
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