Wealthiest 62 persons as rich as half of world

18 Jan 2016 | By Achin Garg
Glaring inequality affecting the world

An Oxfam study has found that in 2015, the richest 62 people owned the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people.

The study highlights that since 2010 the wealth of richest 62 people has increased by 44% to $1.76 trillion while that of poorest half has declined by 41%.

Back in 2010, 388 people owned the same wealth as half of humanity.

In context: Glaring inequality affecting the world

Poverty prevalent in the world

According to the World Bank, more than 1 billion people live in extreme poverty today earning less than $1.9/day and every ninth person goes to bed hungry.

Oxfam What is Oxfam?

Oxfam International is a confederation of 17 organisations which works with local communities to eradicate poverty.

Formed in 1995, it is today present in more than 90 countries with its secretariat based out of Oxford, UK.

It tries to empower people by eradicating injustice of poverty through rights based sustainable development approach, humanitarian assistance, public education, campaigns, etc.

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18 Jan 2016Important highlights of the report

The Oxfam report titled 'An Economy for the 1%' highlights that the divide between rich and poor is widening at an alarming pace as the wealth is getting more and more concentrated in fewer hands.

With around 30% of the African wealth held offshore (costing government $14 billion/year), the report asks governments to clamp down global tax heavens to address this increasing inequality.

Tax havensWhat are tax heavens?

Tax havens are countries which have very low taxes and systems of financial secrecy which is used for circumventing taxes.

Examples include Ireland, Netherlands, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, etc.

It is estimated that $7.6 trillion is sheltered in tax havens.

Thus, tax havens deprive the poor countries of resources to fight poverty as money is siphoned out from these poor countries into tax havens.

Inequality: not just in income

According to World Bank, in 2013, a person in Hong Kong, a tax haven, is expected to live for 84 years against a mere 50 years in Central African Republic, a Sub-Sharan African country.

18 Jan 2016Wealthiest 62 persons as rich as half of world

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Tackling InequalityAgenda to fight inequality ahead of WEF 2016

Oxfam, ahead of the World Economic Forum has presented a 7 point agenda to fight inequality: crack-down on tax havens, investing in universal public services such as education, etc and sharing tax burden fairly.

Introducing minimum wages for workers and equal pay for equal work to ensure gender equality,

Adequate social safety nets for the poor, and accepting a global goal for fighting inequality.