Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Oxfam report Reward Work Not Wealth reveals increasing wealth gap

Oxfam report Reward Work Not Wealth reveals increasing wealth gap

The world's richest one percent raked in 82 percent of the wealth created past year while the poorest half of the population received none, Oxfam said Monday, as the world's elite prepared to mingle at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

In its report "Reward Work, Not Wealth", Oxfam says 82 percent of the wealth generated a year ago went to the richest 1 percent of the global population while the poorest half of the world's population - 3.7 billion people - saw no increase in their wealth.

According to a report from Oxfam, growing inequality resulted in 82pc of new global wealth going to the richest 1pc a year ago, as the combined wealth of billionaires around the world increased by $762bn in 2017.

"The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system", Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima said in a statement.

"It would cost 2.2 billion dollars a year to increase the wages of all 2.5 million Vietnamese garment workers to a living wage". An Oxfam survey found people believed the ideal ratio of the pay of those at the top and bottom of a company should be 7 to1.

A spokesperson for New Zealand trade and export minister David Parker told BuzzFeed News the minister was concerned about the increasing concentration of wealth at the top, and that he would be raising the issue during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week.

The forum is scheduled to begin on Tuesday. These include the erosion of workers' rights; the excessive influence of big business over government policy-making; and the relentless corporate drive to minimize costs in order to maximize returns to shareholders. By comparison, 9 out of 10 billionaires are men.

He said a living wage, "decent conditions" and equality for women were essential if work was to be a "genuine route out of poverty".

Credit Suisse data showed wealth grew by $148b in New Zealand in 2017 to a total $1.597 trillion from $1.449t in 2016.

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Byanyima also urged government to help eliminate the gender pay gap and protect the rights of women workers.

The World Economic Forum has previously estimated that it would take 217 years before women earn as much as men and have equal representation in the workplace.

And increase spending on public services such as healthcare and education.

82% of the wealth generated went to the richest 1% of the global population, as the combined wealth of billionaires increased by $762bn, enough to end extreme poverty seven times over.

"Now is the opportune time for the Irish Government to show their support for global tax reforms", he continued.

The situation is worse globally, according to the survey. Of the 70,000 people surveyed in 10 countries, almost two-thirds of all respondents think the gap between the rich and the poor needs to be urgently addressed.

"It's hard to find a political or business leader who doesn't say they are anxious about inequality", said Byanyima.

"People in India are ready for change".

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