Eight men own more than 3.6-billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity, according to an Oxfam study released on Monday.
The inequality gap in the world is greater than initially feared, says the Oxfam report titles “‘An economy for the 99 percent“. The report shows how big business and the super-rich are fuelling the inequality crisis by dodging taxes, driving down wages and using their power to influence politics.
Nearly 82% of all the money generated in 2017 went to the richest 1% of the world’s population, while the poorest half saw no increase at all, the charity said.
In South Africa, the report reveals, the top 10% of society receives half of all wage income, while the bottom 50% of the workforce receives just 12% of all wages.
Oxfam said that its research suggests that the super-rich aren’t as deserving of their massive gains as they would have you believe.
“There is growing evidence that the current levels of extreme inequality far exceed what can be justified by talent, effort and risk-taking. Instead, they are more often the product of inheritance, monopoly or crony connections to government,” it said.
“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,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International.
“Across the world, people are being left behind. Their wages are stagnating yet corporate bosses take home million dollar bonuses; their health and education services are cut while corporations and the super-rich dodge their taxes; their voices are ignored as governments sing to the tune of big business and a wealthy elite,” she said.
Oxfam International said on its website: “The richest are accumulating wealth at such an astonishing rate that the world could see its first trillionaire in just 25 years. To put this figure in perspective – you would need to spend $1 million every day for 2 738 years to spend $1 trillion.”