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Greater gap between the world's rich and poor: Oxfam

16 Jan 2017 | By Ramya Patelkhana
Gap between the rich and poor

Ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, anti-poverty organization Oxfam said only eight men own the same wealth as half the world's population.

Presenting its findings, it said the level of inequality "threatens to pull our societies apart."

Urging leaders to do more than "pay lip-service", it added the gap between the very rich and poor is much wider than a year ago.

In context: Gap between the rich and poor

16 Jan 2017Greater gap between the world's rich and poor: Oxfam

Oxfam International Executive Director Winne Byanyima's statement

"It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day. Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy."
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Political ChangesPublic anger against inequality leads to political changes, warns Oxfam

Oxfam warned public anger against such inequality would lead to seismic political changes similar to Donald's election Trump as US President and Britain's vote to exit the European Union.

Earlier, Oxfam said 62 people in the world owned as much wealth as the bottom half of the population.

The figure was revised to eight after new information was gathered by Swiss bank Credit Suisse.

Oxfam used Mar'16 Forbes' billionaires list to make headline claim

The list ranked Microsoft founder Bill Gates as the richest individual with a net worth of $75 billion, followed by Amancio Ortega, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim Helu, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's creator Mark Zuckerberg, Oracle's Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg.

Higher TaxesMeasures for reducing the inequality

Oxfam said higher taxes on income and wealth would ensure a level playing field and also fund investments in public services and jobs.

It added business leaders must commit to paying their fair share of taxes and a wage to employees.

Oxfam's policy adviser Max Lawson urged others to do what Bill Gates called on them to do, which is to pay their taxes.

InequalityLargest-ever drop in trust in institutions: Edelman

Global marketing firm Edelman said because of the inequality, trust in institutions fell sharply since the 2008 global financial crisis.

In an online survey of over 33,000 people, conducted during 13 Oct-16 Nov'16, Edelman found the biggest-ever drop in trust across government, business, media and also non-governmental organizations.

CEO credibility also reached an all-time low and government leaders were the least trusted group.

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Edelman President & CEO Richard Edelman's statement

"The implications of the global trust crisis are deep and wide-ranging. It began with the Great Recession of 2008, but like the second and third waves of a tsunami, globalization and technological change have further weakened people's trust in global institutions."

DistrustLack of trust in media resulted in fake news phenomenon

Edelman's 2017 Trust Barometer found 53% of respondents believed the system is unfair.

Edelman highlighted "the emergence of a media echo chamber" magnified the "cycle of distrust".

People view media as part of the elite; thus, lack of trust in media led to fake news phenomenon.

The distrust results in virulent populism and nationalism as the mass population snatches control away from the elites.