"Pre-Davos report shows how 1% now own more than rest of us combined
Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much as the poorest half of the world's population, according to an Oxfam report published today ahead of the annual gathering of the world's financial and political elites in Davos. This number has fallen dramatically from 388 as recently as 2010 and 80 last year.
An Economy for the 1%, shows that the wealth of the poorest half of the world's population - that's 3.6 billion people - has fallen by a trillion dollars since 2010. This 41 per cent drop has occurred despite the global population increasing by around 400 million people during that period. Meanwhile the wealth of the richest 62 has increased by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76tr. Just nine of the '62' are women.
Although world leaders have increasingly talked about the need to tackle inequality, the gap between the richest and the rest has widened dramatically in the past 12 months. Oxfam's prediction - made ahead of last year's Davos - that the 1% would soon own more than the rest of us by 2016, actually came true in 2015, a year early.
Oxfam is calling for urgent action to tackle the inequality crisis and reverse the dramatic fall in wealth of the poorest half of the world. It is urging world leaders to adopt a three-pronged approach - cracking down on tax dodging, increased investment in public services and action to boost the income of the lowest paid. As a priority, it is calling for an end to the era of tax havens which has seen increasing use of offshore centres by rich individuals and companies to avoid paying their fair share to society. This has denied governments valuable resources needed to tackle poverty and inequality.
Globally, it is estimated that super-rich individuals have stashed a total of $7.6tr in offshore accounts. If tax were paid on the income that this wealth generates, an extra $190bil would be available to governments every year.
As much as 30 percent of all African financial wealth is estimated to be held offshore, costing an estimated $14billion in lost tax revenues every year. This is enough money to pay for healthcare for mothers and children that could save 4 million children's lives a year and employ enough teachers to get every African child into school.
Nine out of ten WEF corporate partners have a presence in at least one tax haven and it is estimated that tax dodging by multinational corporations costs developing countries at least $100billion every year. Corporate investment in tax havens increased almost quadrupled between 2000 and 2014."