As global elites gather at Davos
Oxfam: 26 billionaires control as much wealth as poorest half of humanity
22 January 2019
As members of the world’s financial elite gather today in Davos, Switzerland, for the opening of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, a new report by the UK-based charity Oxfam International has highlighted the vast accumulation of wealth at the heights of society, and the accelerating growth of social inequality.
The report showed that last year, the wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by $900 billion, or 12 percent, while 3.8 billion people—half the world’s population—saw their wealth decline by 11 percent.
Last year, the billionaires increased their wealth by $2.5 billion every day, while a millionaire moved into their ranks every two days.
In the decade since the global financial crisis erupted in 2008, governments and financial authorities have imposed its full impact on the backs of the world working class, in the form of stagnant and lower wages and austerity programs that have gutted health and other social services, to name just some of its effects. Meanwhile, wealth has become ever more concentrated. Last year, just 26 people controlled as much wealth as the 3.8 billion people who comprise half the world’s population, compared to 43 people the year before.
Oxfam noted that just 1 percent of the $112 billion fortune accumulated by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, was equivalent to the entire health budget for Ethiopia, a nation of 105 million people.
The Oxfam report found that the top tax rate for the rich in the developed countries plunged from 62 percent in 1970 to 38 percent by 2013, and pointed to the tax cut introduced by US president Trump at the end of 2017, benefiting the wealthy…