In new report released to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Oxfam reveals that inequality is rising to staggering levels.
The spotlight will be on the world’s richest and most powerful as they gather in a billionaire’s playground in Switzerland this week, as a new report reveals that by next year 1 percent of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99 percent.
Anti-poverty charity Oxfam released its latest report “Wealth: Having it all and wanting more” Monday just days ahead of the World Economic Forum, whose annual meeting in ski resort Davos aims to set the global agenda for issues ranging from the global economy to climate change.
Executive director of Oxfam International, Winnie Byamyima, who will be co-chairing the event, has assured that she will use her position to draw attention to rising inequality as she did last year when her charity revealed that the richest 85 people in the world hold the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent.
“Do we really want to live in a world where the 1 percent own more than the rest of us combined? The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast,” Byamyima said.
“In the past 12 months we have seen world leaders from President Obama to Christine Lagarde talk more about tackling extreme inequality but we are still waiting for many of them to walk the walk. It is time our leaders took on the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world,” she added.
The report examines how extreme wealth is passed down generations and how policies stay favorable to the interests of the wealthy. More than one-third of the 1,645 billionaires listed by Forbes inherited some or all of their riches.
Furthermore, the report details the massive sums billionaires spend on lobbying Washington and Brussels policy makers to protect their interests.
Twenty percent of the richest have interests in the financial and insurance sectors, a group which saw its cash wealth increase by 11 percent March 2013 to March 2014. These billionaires spent US$550 million lobbying policy makers in 2013.
During the 2012 U.S. elections, the financial sector also gave US$571 million in campaign contributions.