“The gap between the super rich and the rest of the world widened last year as wealth continued to be owned by a small minority, Oxfam has claimed.
Some 82% of money generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population while the poorest half saw no increase at all, the charity said.
Oxfam said its figures – which critics have queried – showed a failing system.
It blamed tax evasion, firms’ influence on policy, erosion of workers’ rights, and cost cutting for the widening gap.
Oxfam has produced similar reports for the past five years. In 2017 it calculated that the world’s eight richest individuals had as much wealth as the poorest half of the world.
This year, it said 42 people now had as much wealth as the poorest half, but it revised last year’s figure to 61. Oxfam said the revision was due to improved data and said the trend of “widening inequality” remained.”
“Wealth inequality in the US is at near record levels according to a new study by academics. Over the past three decades, the share of household wealth owned by the top 0.1% has increased from 7% to 22%. For the bottom 90% of families, a combination of rising debt, the collapse of the value of their assets during the financial crisis, and stagnant real wages have led to the erosion of wealth.
The research by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman [PDF] illustrates the evolution of wealth inequality over the last century. The chart shows how the top 0.1% of families now own roughly the same share of wealth as the bottom 90%.
The picture actually improved in the aftermath of the 1930s Great Depression, with wealth inequality falling through to the late 1970s. It then started to rise again, with the share of total household wealth owned by the top 0.1% rising to 22% in 2012 from 7% in the late 1970s. The top 0.1% includes 160,000 families with total net assets of more than $20m (£13m) in 2012.
In contrast, the share of total US wealth owned by the bottom 90% of families fell from a peak of 36% in the mid-1980s, to 23% in 2012 – just one percentage point above the top 0.1%.
The growing indebtedness of most Americans is the main reason behind the erosion of the wealth share of the bottom 90%, according to the report’s authors. Many middle-class families own their homes and have pensions, but too many have higher mortgage repayments, higher credit card bills, and higher student loans to service. The average wealth of bottom 90% jumped during the stock market boom of the late 1990s and the housing bubble of the early 2000s. But it then collapsed during and after the most recent financial crisis.
Since then, there has been no recovery in the wealth of the middle class and the poor, the authors say. The average wealth of the bottom 90% of families is equal to $80,000 in 2012— the same level as in 1986. In contrast, the average wealth for the top 1% more than tripled between 1980 and 2012.
Among the nine G20 countries with sufficient data (featured in the graph above), the richest 1% of people (by income) have increased their income share significantly since 1980, according to Oxfam. In Australia, for example, the top 1% earned 4.8% of the country’s income in 1980. That had risen to more than 9% by 2010.
Oxfam says that in the time that Australia has held the G20 presidency (between 2013 and 2014) the total wealth in the G20 increased by $17tn but the richest 1% of people in the G20 captured $6.2tn of this wealth – 36% of the total increase.”
Last year, the world’s billionaires made over $462 billion combined—enough money to end extreme poverty around the globe seven times over. With a new billionaire added to the list nearly every two days, wealth inequality widened, according to a new report from Oxfam.
Forty-two of the richest people in the world now hold as much wealth as 3.7 billion of the poorest people in the world, according to the report, released Monday by the international charitable organization.
The report showed that about 82 percent of wealth created across the globe went to the top 1 percent. “Our broken economies reward wealth not hard work,” Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima tweeted Monday. “Rich get richer, millions trapped in poverty wages or joblessness. Leaders must reverse this.”
According to the Oxfam report, the three wealthiest Americans claim as much wealth as the 160 million poorest people living in the United States.
“The top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing.”
Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis published Friday found that the top one percent of Americans gained $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion.
- Approximately 82% of the money generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population, the report said, while the poorest half saw no increase at all
- Last year, Oxfam said billionaires would have seen an uptick of $762 billion — enough to end extreme poverty seven times over
The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, saw his wealth balloon by $6 billion in the first 10 days of 2017 — leading to a flood of headlines marking him as “the richest man of all time.”