The Report titled Working for the Few was released by Oxfam on 20 January 2014. The report highlights the impact of widening inequality in the world. According to the report, richest 85 individuals hold wealth equivalent to what the 3.5 billion poorest people holds. That is, bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
• 70 percent of people live in countries where the gap between the rich and poor has widened in the last 30 years.
• 1 percent of the global population shares a collective wealth of 1.10 trillion dollar which is 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
• The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries between 1980 and 2012.
• In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.
• In India, the number of billionaires has increased tenfold in the past decade.
• Since the late 1970s, tax rates for the richest have fallen in 29 countries.
The Report notes that given the scale of rising wealth concentrations, opportunity capture and unequal political representation are a serious and worrying trend.
In this light, Oxfam has called upon members of the World Economic Forum (to be held in Davos, Switzerland to:
• Not dodge taxes in their own countries or in countries where they invest and operate, by using tax havens;
• Not use their economic wealth to seek political favors that undermine the democratic will of their fellow citizens;
• Make public all the investments in companies and trusts for which they are the ultimate beneficial owners;
• Support progressive taxation on wealth and income;
• Challenge governments to use their tax revenue to provide universal healthcare, education and social protection for citizens;
• Demand a living wage in all the companies they own or control;
• Challenge other economic elites to join them in these pledges.
• A global goal to end extreme economic inequality in every country. This should be a major element of the post 2015 framework, including consistent monitoring in every country of the share of wealth going to the richest one percent.
• Stronger regulation of markets to promote sustainable and equitable growth; and
• Curbing the power of the rich to influence political processes and policies that best suit their interests.
Oxfam was originally founded in Oxford in 1942. It was set up by the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief by a group of Quakers, social activists, and Oxford academics.
It is an international confederation of 17 organizations working in approximately 90 countries worldwide to find solutions to poverty and related injustice around the world.
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