Fighters against poverty announce doubling number of billionaires in 10 years

Fighters against poverty announce doubling number of billionaires in 10 years
Photo: Toby Melville / Reuters

On the eve of the opening of the Davos forum, the Oxfam Foundation issued a report entitled Public Good or Private Wealth. It says about doubling the number of billionaires over the past ten years and increasing inequality in the world.

Over the past ten years, the number of billionaires in the world almost doubled and reached 2208 people, and their fortunes increase annually by $900 billion, or nearly $2.5 billion a day. Such was presented by the Oxfam International Foundation, which aims to combat poverty. The study is published on the website of the fund.

The ideological program of the fund was voiced by executive director of the Foundation Winnie Byanyima. “People around the world are angry and frustrated. Governments must now make real change by ensuring that corporations and rich people pay their fair share of taxes and invest this money in free health care and education that meets the needs of everyone, including women and girls, whose needs are so often ignored. Governments can build a bright future for everyone — not just the privileged one,” she said.

The authors of the study claim that it is based on reliable and up-to-date data. While the rich are getting richer, the report says, 3.8 billion people, who make up the most miserable half of humanity, felt that their incomes decreased by 11%. Each of them is on the edge of poverty and lives on less than $5.5 a day.

The Public Good or Private Wealth report shows that the growing gap between the rich and the poor undermines the fight against poverty, damages our economy and incites public anger around the world. It shows how governments exacerbate inequality by underfunding public services, such as health care and education,” the study states. It also notes that women and girls are most affected by growing economic inequality.

Tax rates for rich people and corporations have plummeted in recent years, according to the report’s authors. For example, the maximum personal income tax rate in rich countries fell from 62% in 1970 to 38% in 2013. The average value of this rate in poor countries is only 28%. In some countries, such as Brazil, 10% of the poorest strata of society now pay a higher proportion of their income in taxes than the wealthiest 10%.

The reviewers concluded that the sexist nature of property inequality. “The tax cuts on wealth mainly benefit men who own 50% more wealth than women around the world and control 86% of corporations. <...> Because of unjust social attitudes, this unpaid care work is overwhelmingly done by women and girls – time spent caring for children, the elderly and the sick; cooking, cleaning and collecting water and firewood. If all the unpaid care work done by women across the globe was carried out by a single company, it would have an annual turnover of $10 trillion – 43 times that of Apple,” the report added in an explanatory note.

Tags: Oligarchs
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