Rising inequality could set the fight against poverty back by decades, Oxfam warned Wednesday as it published a new report showing that the number of billionaires worldwide has more than doubled since the financial crisis.
The richest 85 people, who have as the same wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population, saw their collective wealth increase by $668 million per day between 2013 and 2014. That’s almost half a million dollars every minute.
Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International Executive Director, said: “Far from being a driver of economic growth, extreme inequality is a barrier to prosperity for most people on the planet. Today wealth is trickling upwards, and will continue to do so until governments act.”
“Inequality hinders growth, corrupts politics, stifles opportunity and fuels instability while deepening discrimination, especially against women,” said Byanyima. “It is time to even it up before it gets worse.”
The Oxfam report is the opening salvo of a new Oxfam campaign to push world leaders to turn rhetoric into reality and ensure the poorest people get a fairer deal. Action is needed to clamp down on tax dodging carried out by multinational corporations and the world’s richest individuals.
Big global corporations and the wealthiest people must pay their fair share to governments’ coffers, so that countries can tackle inequality and build fairer societies.