The majority, 82 percent, of wealth generated in 2017 went to the richest one percent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half saw their wealth flatline, according to a new Oxfam report.
“The concentration of extreme wealth at the top is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a system that is failing the millions of hard-working people on poverty wages who make our clothes and grow our food,” said Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB chief executive.
The report, which is entitled Reward Work, Not Wealth and is published to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, says billionaire wealth rose by an average of 13 percent a year between 2006 and 2015 - six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers.
According to the charity, “it takes just four days for a chief executive of one of the world's five biggest fashion retailers to earn as much as a Bangladeshi garment worker will earn in her entire lifetime.”
In addition it highlights a gender imbalance in inequality and says “women consistently earn less than men and are concentrated in the lowest-paid, least-secure forms of work.”
The report calculates that at current rates of change it will take 217 years to close the global gap in pay and employment opportunities between women and men.
Improved data has led to an upward revision of Oxfam's annual estimate of how many people own the same as the poorest half of humanity, although the trend of widening inequality remains. Now, 42 people own the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent.
In its latest Global Wealth Report Credit Suisse expanded its dataset. Using this new data, Oxfam now calculates that last year 61 people owned the same as half the world. As recently as 2009, the figure was 380.
A new survey from Oxfam suggests that there is a desire to tackle the inequality in the global economy. Almost three quarters, 72 percent, of those surveyed in the UK they want their government to urgently address the income gap between rich and poor in their country.
In the UK, when asked what a typical British chief executive earned in comparison to an unskilled worker, people guessed 33 times as much. When asked what the ideal ratio should be, they said 7:1.
However, Oxfam says the reality is that FTSE 100 bosses, for example, earn on average 120 times more than the average employee.
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