Eight Rich Men and Half of the World Population

A Journal of People report

Eight rich men own the same wealth as half the world’s population – more than 3 billion – possess, said an Oxfam report.
The international NGO Monday mentioned the wealth ratio in terms of 8 persons: half of the world population as a level of inequality which “threatens to pull our societies apart”. This has been said ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) opening in Davos.
A new report by Oxfam warns of growing and dangerous concentration of wealth.
Oxfam said:
The wealth of the world’s poorest 3.6 billion people is the equivalent to the combined net worth of six American businessmen, one from Spain and another from Mexico.The Oxfam report said:
Since 2015 the richest 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet.
It said:
Over the next 20 years, 500 people will hand over $2.1trillion to their heirs – a sum larger than the annual GDP of India, a country with 1.3 billion people. Between 1988 and 2011 the income of the poorest 10% increased by just $65 while the income of the richest 1% grew by $11,800 – 182 times.
Oxfam said:
It was “beyond grotesque” that a handful of rich men headed by the Microsoft founder Bill Gates are worth $426bn equivalent to the wealth of 3.6 billion people.
Picked from Forbes’ billionaires list, these rich persons include Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Oxfam said the world’s poorest 50% owned the same in assets as the $426bn owned by a group headed by Gates, Amancio Ortega, the founder of the Spanish fashion chain Zara, and Warren Buffet, the renowned investor and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.
The others are Carlos Slim Helú: the Mexican telecoms tycoon and owner of conglomerate Grupo Carso; Larry Ellison, chief executive of US tech firm Oracle; and Michael Bloomberg; a former mayor of New York and founder and owner of the Bloomberg news and financial information service.
Oxfam pointed to a link between the vast gap between rich and poor and growing discontent with mainstream politics around the world.
Oxfam’s new report An Economy for the 99 Percent said:
“From Brexit to the success of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, a worrying rise in racism and the widespread disillusionment with mainstream politics, there are increasing signs that more and more people in rich countries are no longer willing to tolerate the status quo.”
Oxfam blamed rising inequality on aggressive wage restraint, tax dodging and the squeezing of producers by companies, adding that businesses were too focused on delivering ever-higher returns to wealthy owners and top executives.
The NGO said:
New data on wealth distribution from countries such as India and China had prompted it to revise its own calculation, having said a year ago the wealth of half the world’s population was in the hands of 62 people.
The charity said:
The poor people in China and India owned even fewer assets than previously thought, making the wealth gap more pronounced than it thought a year ago.
Oxfam said:
The vast majority of people in the bottom half of the world’s population was facing a daily struggle to survive, with 70% of them living in low-income countries.
Oxfam decried lobbying by corporations and the closeness of business and politics, calling for mandatory public lobby registries and stronger rules on conflicts of interest.
The NGO called for an increase in tax rates targeting “rich individuals and corporations”, as well as a global agreement to end competition between countries to lower corporate tax rates.
The development charity called for a new economic model to reverse an inequality trend that it said helped to explain Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election.
The WEF released its own inclusive growth and development report in which it said median income had fallen by an average of 2.4% between 2008 and 2013 across 26 advanced nations.
Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Iceland and Denmark filled the top five places in the WEF’s inclusive development index, with Britain 21st and the US 23rd.
The WEF said rising inequality was not an “iron law of capitalism”, but a matter of making the right policy choices.
The WEF report found that 51% of the 103 countries for which data was available saw their inclusive development index scores decline over the past five years, “attesting to the legitimacy of public concern and the challenge facing policymakers regarding the difficulty of translating economic growth into broad social progress”.
The WEF report said:
“From Brexit to the success of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, a worrying rise in racism and the widespread disillusionment with mainstream politics, there are increasing signs that more and more people in rich countries are no longer willing to tolerate the status quo.”
Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, said: “This year’s snapshot of inequality is clearer, more accurate and more shocking than ever before. 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.
“While one in nine people on the planet will go to bed hungry tonight, a small handful of billionaires have so much wealth they would need several lifetimes to spend it. 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 our economy has become.”
Mark Littlewood, director general at the thinktank Institute of Economic Affairs said: “Once again Oxfam have come out with a report that demonizes capitalism, conveniently skimming over the fact that free markets have helped over 100 million people rise out of poverty in the last year alone.”


3 thoughts on “Eight Rich Men and Half of the World Population

  1. This is a good article, short and sweet. I’d like to put it on one of my Pininterest pages where I’m working out a short story. Do you think you could put a ‘Pin’ share button your pieces? It would be great to link some of my stories to some of your articles…


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