A new Oxfam report on the global “inequality crisis” reveals that the richest 62 individuals hold the same amount of wealth as the 3.6 billion poorest people on the planet. And not only that, but the gaping chasm between the über-wealthy and the rest of us is continually widening, as these individuals continue to swell their fortunes, while the poor just get poorer.
The research shows that rather than trickling down, wealth is being “sucked upwards at an alarming rate,” and the massive global wealth divide is more pronounced than it has been in 15 years. Just five years ago, the same proportion of wealth was divided up between six times the number of people. Now, these 62 incomprehensibly wealthy people hold 44 percent more wealth—about $1.76 trillion combined (which is around 40 times more than the UN estimates it would take to aid all of the world’s citizens in need of humanitarian aid this year). In that same time period, the wealth owned by the bottom half of the world has fallen by one trillion dollars. Since 2000, the poorest 10 percent of global citizens have seen only minor increases in pay, with daily incomes rising less than one cent per year.
Further, while the divide between the world’s richest and poorest is incredibly stark, it’s not as if the rest of the spectrum is a vast grey area. The report also shows that according to Credit Suisse, the overall richest 1% hold more wealth than the rest of the world combined.
In order to fix this massive inequality gap, Oxfam recommends more stringent regulations on tax-dodging practices and tax havens, higher minimum wages, improvements in economic equality for both genders, and more progressive public spending to expand public services that benefit the greater public.
Listed among the world’s richest billionaires are several Americans who regularly top the lists of the super-wealthy, such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and the Koch brothers.