Eight men own half the world’s wealth: Oxfam

Published in Asian Age, Jan 16, 2017

The wealth of the world's poorest 3.6 billion people equals the combined net worth of 6 US businessmen, 1 from Spain and 1 from Mexico.

 

(Note: The combined wealth of the world's poorest 3.6 billion people is equivalent to the total net worth of  8 people in the world: 6 American businessmen,1 Spanish and 1 Mexican. World population today (in 2017) is estimated to be just over 7.5 billion(7,515,284,153). Does it mean that these 3.6 billion people, half of world population, is poorest because these 8 persons misappropriated their wealth? Not at all. It only shows the monstrous inequalities in resources for survival, we create when we forget, we have to be also our brother’s  keeper.

 In any case the eight richest people have enough and much more than they need for their necessities and luxuries. That is why Gadhiji said that we have in this world all the wealth for everybody’s needs, not for their greed. It is sheer greed that forces one to keep much more than for one’s luxuries. Many don’t share just because they are either too selfish, or don’t see the extreme poverty of their neighbor. Organizations like world economic forum are helping to wake up the rich to share and reduce the ever yawning inequalities in the world.

 Two surprising recenr voting patterns in the world which brought us to this sorry state are,1. Brexit vote to leave European union, and 2. Voting in the US to crown a towering business man, Trump, as its president. This flight of the few to find security in affluence at  the cost of ignoring the misery of the millions cannot survive for too long because none of us can be an island of affluence for long in a sea of misery, because poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere. So enlightened self interest bacons all of us to rush to the needs of the dying on our doorstep james kottoor, editor).

London: Eight men own the same wealth as half the world's population, a level of inequality which "threatens to pull our societies apart", Oxfam said on Monday ahead of the World Economic Forum opening in Davos.

The wealth of the world's poorest 3.6 billion people is the equivalent to the combined net worth of six American businessmen, one from Spain and another from Mexico.

Picked from Forbes' billionaires list, they include Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg who co-founded Facebook, and Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.Oxfam pointed to a link between the vast gap between rich and poor and growing discontent with mainstream politics around the world.

"From Brexit to the success of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, a worrying rise in racism and the widespread disillusionment with mainstream politics, there are increasing signs that more and more people in rich countries are no longer willing to tolerate the status quo," Oxfam said in its new report, "An economy for the 99 percent".

The charity said new data on wealth distribution from countries such as India and China had prompted it to revise its own calculation, having said a year ago the wealth of half the world's population was in the hands of 62 people.

Inequality will be among the issues topping the agenda as the world's political and business elite meet in Davos from Tuesday until Friday, when 3,000 people will gather for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum."Responsive and responsible leadership" has been chosen as the theme of the summit, which organisers said was a response to a "backlash against globalisation leading to two surprising vote results and a rise in populism in the West".

In its report Oxfam called for an increase in tax rates targeting "rich individuals and cooperations", as well as a global agreement to end competition between countries to lower corporate tax rates.The charity also decried lobbying by corporations and the closeness of business and politics, calling for mandatory public lobby registries and stronger rules on conflicts of interest.

 

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