U.S. and World Politics

Half Of Global Wealth Owned By 85 People Oxfam Reports

By Asa Bennett

January 21, 2014—Half of all the world’s wealth is owned by 85 people, who could all fit onto a single double-decker bus.

The shock finding from anti-poverty campaigners Oxfam came as world leaders, business chiefs and academics are set to gather this week in Davos for the World Economic Forum.

In their new report “Working for the Few,” Oxfam have found citizens around the world strongly believe that the economy is “skewed” in favor of the rich.

According to polls carried out for the firm in the UK, Brazil, India, South Africa, Spain and the U.S., most people believe the laws are skewed in favor of the rich. Two-thirds of Brits polled thought “the rich had too much influence over the direction the country is headed,” while just one-in-ten disagreed.

Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima said: “It is staggering that in the 21st Century, half of the world’s population—that’s three-and-a-half-billion people—own no more than a tiny elite whose numbers could all fit comfortably on a double-decker bus.

“We cannot hope to win the fight against poverty without tackling inequality. Widening inequality is creating a vicious circle where wealth and power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, leaving the rest of us to fight over crumbs from the top table.

“In developed and developing countries alike we are increasingly living in a world where the lowest tax rates, the best health and education and the opportunity to influence are being given not just to the rich but also to their children.

“Without a concerted effort to tackle inequality, the cascade of privilege and of disadvantage will continue down the generations. We will soon live in a world where equality of opportunity is just a dream. In too many countries economic growth already amounts to little more than a ‘winner takes all’ windfall for the richest.”

The Huffington Post UK, January 21, 2014