World’s Top 26 Billionaires Own As Much As The Poorest 3.8 Billion

Wealth inequality around the world is “out of control”, anti-poverty campaigner Oxfam International said on Monday (January 21).

The most recent results of Oxfam’s annual study found that fortunes of billionaires increased by 12% last year while the poorest 3.8 billion people in the world experienced a wealth decline of 11%. The top 26 wealthiest people owned $1.4 trillion, as much as the 3.8 billion poorest people.

As per the study, the number of billionaires has doubled since the financial crisis 10 years ago.

With tax rates of big corporations and wealthy people dropping to the lowest levels and the poorest of the poorest increasing in number in the past decades, Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima is calling out to the richest people in the world, the most powerful people in the world, and the political leaders of the world to take action.

“The people in Davos, the big company leaders, and the political leaders are part of the problem, they are the problem, and we want them to be the solution to ending extreme inequality ‘coz it’s out of control, it’s widening, it’s hurting our economies, slowing our economies, it’s undermining democracy. It’s trapping people in poverty. So, I’m here to call for action, “said Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International Executive Director.

The anti-poverty campaigner is recommending that the tax wealth of the world’s nations should be at fairer levels. Increasing rates on personal income and corporate taxes and at the same time abolish tax avoidance by companies and the super-rich.

Oxfam’s annual study comes ahead of the World Economic Forum which will begin later this week in Davos and is meant to call attention to the growing gap between the rich and the poor.

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What happens in Davos stays in Davos

Thousands of business executives, world leaders and heads of charities show up in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum.

But what really is the World Economic Forum all about?

It is a yearly corporate session where press conferences, interviews and talks discussing each of the region’s agendas, priorities, and goals to reshape the global industry is held with the participation of the members of the Forum’s communities.

With a plethora of panels, meetings, and other activities related to network and trade, businesses pay up to $27,000 or almost 1.5 million in Philippine pesos per person to attend such a big event.

Many corporate deals are discussed, looked into and negotiated in the forum and there’s even been an occasional breakthrough in international relations amongst member of the Forum’s community.

Just last year, the Greek and Macedonian prime ministers resolved a decades-old dispute after meeting in Davos at the annual World Economic Forum.

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The year of the rich growing richer and the poor poorer

Between the year 2017 and 2018, a new billionaire was created every two days doubling the number of billionaires for the past 10 years.

Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon and 2018’s world’s richest man according to Forbes, saw his fortune increase by $112 billion dollars making his total wealth roughly equivalent to just 1% of the health budget of Ethiopia, a country with 105 million people in population, Oxfam said.

While the poorest half of the humanity experiences dwindling wealth by 11% and the riches of the world’s billionaires increase by 12%, the mega-wealthy are becoming a more concentrated bunch.

Last year, the combined fortunes of the top 26 billionaires in the world reached $1.4 trillion —as much as 3.8 billion other people. In 2017, it was the top 43 richest people. A difference of 17 billionaires for just one year, how much more the next years to come?