The world’s 26 richest people now own the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity, with inequality spiralling out of control, international non-profit organisation Oxfam has said.
In its report, titled Public Good or Private Wealth published on Monday, Oxfam warned that the massive wealth disparity was stoking popular anger and threatening democracies as that just 26 individuals are as wealthy as 3.8 billion people.
The charity’s research revealed that billionaire fortunes rose by $2.5 billion per day in 2018, increasing 12 percent for the year as the poorest half of the world saw its wealth decline by 11 percent.
“We are seeing rich people running away with wealth and poor people sinking in poverty,” Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima said.
Oxfam urged governments to hike tax rates for corporations and the world’s richest to tackle the growing wealth gap.
According to the report, adding half a percent to taxes on the world’s richest 1 percent would raise more than enough money to educate 262 million children and provide health care that would save 3.3 million lives.
Commenting on the rising inequality earlier, former Malawi Economic Justice Network executive director Dalitso Kubalasa said ‘closing the divide’ was about operationalising policy recommendations to address the differences in the quality of life and standards of living that separate the rich from the poor masses because of extreme inequality. n