World Economy

World’s 8 Men Richer Than 3.6 Billion People Combined

World’s 8 Men Richer Than 3.6 Billion People CombinedWorld’s 8 Men Richer Than 3.6 Billion People Combined

Eight men now control as much wealth as the world’s poorest 3.6 billion people, according to a new report from Oxfam International.

The men—Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Amancio Ortega, Larry Ellison and Michael Bloomberg—are collectively worth $426 billion, the anti-poverty group said on Sunday, CNNMoney reported.

“Such dramatic inequality is trapping millions in poverty, fracturing our societies, and poisoning our politics,” said Paul O’Brien, Oxfam America’s Vice President for Policy and Campaigns.

The study is released ahead of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos beginning Monday in Davos, Switzerland, attended by the rich and powerful from across the world.

The Oxfam report said that the richest 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet since 2015. In the US, the richest 1% control 42% of the wealth. And just 57 billionaires in India now have $216 billion as that of the bottom 70% population of the country.

The study draws from Forbes’ annual list of billionaires and Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook.

It has been four years since the WEF identified rising economic inequality as a major threat to social stability. But Oxfam said the problem is just getting worse.

“Despite world leaders signing up to a global goal to reduce inequality, the gap between the rich and the rest has widened,” it said.

The report said that seven out of 10 people live in a country where inequality has worsened over the past three decades. And over the past 25 years, the top 1% has gained more income than the bottom 50% put together.

The total global wealth in the year was $255.7 trillion, of which about $6.5 trillion was held by billionaires, led by Bill Gates ($75 billion), Amancio Ortega ($67 billion) and Warren Buffett ($60.8 billion).

“Over the next 20 years, 500 people will hand over $2.1 trillion to their heirs—a sum larger than the GDP of India, a country of 1.3 billion people,” Oxfam said.

“Far from trickling down, income and wealth are being sucked upwards at an alarming rate,” the report said.

There’s also a big gender disparity. Of the 1,810 dollar billionaires around the world, 89% are men.

The study findings showed that the poorest half of the world has less wealth than had been previously thought while over the last two decades, the richest 10% of the population in China, Indonesia, Laos, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have seen their share of income increase by more than 15%. On the other hand, the poorest 10% have seen their share of income fall by more than 15%.

“Due to a combination of discrimination and working in low-pay sectors, women’s wages across Asia are between 70-90% of men’s,” it said.

In the US, by contrast, billionaires have frequently chosen to cash out of their businesses, and their wealth has not lasted so long.

In many parts of the world, corporations are increasingly driven by a single goal—that is to maximize returns to their shareholders, it said. In the UK, 10% of profits were returned to shareholders in 1970 and this figure is now 70%.


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