The world’s eight richest people have the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity combined.
Inequality is more shocking than ever in today’s day-and-age. Just like Marlon Brando in The Godfather, according to research by Oxfam, an international confederation of charity organizations, eight billionaires have riches equivalent to the wealth of the world’s 3.6 billion poorest people.
The gap between rich and poor is far greater than most people fear. It has been called a complete overhaul of a warped economy that allowed a small group to have more wealth than they could ever spend while one in nine people go hungry every single hour of the day.
World leaders are soon to gather in Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum, an event held annually, and ironically, in a luxurious Swiss ski resort. The forum is often criticized for being a little more than a talking shop for the rich and powerful.
Oxfam calls on international leaders to improve cooperation to stop tax dodging, action to encourage companies to act for the benefit of staff as well as shareholders, wealth taxes to fund healthcare, education and job creation, and improvements in opportunities for women. Oxfam also urges business chiefs to commit to paying a living wage to their staff and fully comply with their fair share of taxes.
“This year’s snapshot of inequality is clearer, more accurate and more shocking than ever before,” said Oxfam Chief Executive, Mark Goldring. “It is beyond grotesque that a group of men who could easily fit in a single golf buggy own more than the poorest half of humanity. All while one in nine people on the planet will go to bed hungry tonight a small handful of billionaires have so much wealth that they would need several lifetimes to spend it.”
Goldring continues by saying “the fact that a super-rich elite are able to prosper at the expense of the rest of us at home and overseas shows how warped out economy had become. Inequality is not only keeping millions of people trapped in poverty, it is fracturing our societies and poisoning out politics.”
Among the eight billionaires from the latest research conducted, Bill Gates, who tops the list, and Warren Buffett, the world third richest man, are known philanthropists who have pledged to give away most of their wealth. “The move is welcome but does not replace the need for a fair tax system,” Oxfam says.
Goldring believes that with the right policies, world leaders can rebalance our broken economy bringing the ever-growing poverty rate closer to being non-existent.
“We need a new common sense approach that ensures a fair deal for workers and producers; requires those who can afford it to pay their share of tax and ensures that women get a fair chance to realize their potential. Standing up to powerful interests and corporate bad behaviour won’t be easy but is vital if we’re to ensure a better future for people at home and around the world.”
-Loredana Del Bello, Assistant Campus News Editor