One billionaire created after every two days: Oxfam

Andrew Cummings
January 22, 2018

Eighty two per cent of the wealth generated past year went to the richest one per cent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half got nothing, according to a new Oxfam report released today.

The Oxfam Australia paper published on Monday coincides with the release of an Oxfam global report which found that the world's richest 1 percent of people made 82 percent of the global wealth created in the last financial year.

Oxfam used its findings to paint a picture of a global economy in which the wealthy few amass ever-greater fortunes while hundreds of millions of people are "struggling to survive on poverty pay".

The Oxfam report, "Reward Work, Not Wealth", launched ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, reveals that past year saw the biggest increase in the number of billionaires in history, with one more billionaire created every two days.

"Yet over the same time, the average wages of ordinary Australians have increased by just 36% and average household wealth grew by 12%".

"In India, it will take 941 years for a minimum wage worker in rural India to earn what the top paid executive at a leading Indian garment firm earns in a year", says the study named Reward Work, Not Wealth.


"It would cost 2.2 billion dollars a year to increase the wages of all 2.5 million Vietnamese garment workers to a living wage".

The world's richest 1 percent grabbed £4 out of every £5 of new wealth created in the world previous year says the Oxfam charity.

Oxfam's report outlines the key factors driving up rewards for shareholders and corporate bosses at the expense of workers' pay and conditions.

84% Indians agreed that the gap between the rich and poor in the country is too large and 73% want the Indian government to urgently reduce the difference in income between the rich and poor, says the report. The group argues companies should not issue dividends to shareholders unless they pay their workers a living wage.

"Trickle-down economics isn't working".

Women workers often find themselves at the bottom of the heap.


Women consistently earn less than men and are concentrated in the lowest-paid, least-secure forms of work, the report said. By comparison, nine out of 10 billionaires are men.

"Oxfam has spoken to women across the globe whose lives are blighted by inequality". Women working in the United States poultry industry who are forced to wear nappies because they are denied toilet breaks.

"Leaders should ensure that wealthy individuals and businesses pay their fair share of tax by cracking down on tax avoidance, and invest this into essential services like schools and hospitals, and creating jobs for young people".

To illustrate that, this time a year ago, Oxfam told us that eight individuals have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world's population. So now is the opportune time for the Irish Government to show their support for global tax reforms. Of the 120,000 people surveyed in 10 countries, almost two-thirds of all respondents think the gap between the rich and the poor needs to be urgently addressed.

Goldring added: "Many leaders say they're anxious about the corrosive effect of inequality but their tough talk too often fades away at the first resistance. It's even harder to find one who is doing something about it", said Byanyima. "Many are actively making things worse by slashing taxes and scrapping labour rights".


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