A new report from Oxfam indicates 62 people own as much as the poorest half of the world’s population. That number was 388 as recently as 2010.
The combined total wealth of those 62 people is $1.76 trillion, and only nine of them are women.
“It is simply unacceptable that the poorest half of the world population owns no more than a small group of the global super-rich – so few, you could fit them all on a single [bus],” said Oxfam Chief Executive Mark Goldring in a statement.
The numbers come just ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which will see the world’s financial and political elite gather to discuss pressing issues in the world, including the growing global inequality crisis.
Just ahead of last year’s meeting, Oxfam predicted one per cent of the population would own the majority of the world’s wealth by 2016 – it ended up happening in 2015.
“World leaders’ concern about the escalating inequality crisis has so far not translated into concrete action to ensure that those at the bottom get their fair share of economic growth. In a world where one in nine people go to bed hungry every night we cannot afford to carry on giving the richest an ever bigger slice of the cake,” said Goldring.
Many of the richest people in the world store their money in offshore accounts, and, according to Oxfam, that represents about $7.6 trillion. If that money were taxable, it would add $190 billion to governments around the world.
Goldring believes we need to make this money accessible to the people who need it most.
“We need to end the era of tax havens which has allowed rich individuals and multinational companies to avoid their responsibilities to society by hiding ever increasing amounts of money offshore.”
While the number of people living in extreme poverty decreased between 1990 and 2010, the average annual income of the poorest 10 per cent has only risen by less than $3 a year.
The report indicates the growing inequality between the rich and the poor has left an extra 200 million people in poverty between 1990 and 2010.
Oxfam is recommending governments take action to help provide an acceptable standard of living for those in extreme poverty.