By Nadia Prupis, staff writer, Common Dreams, June 24, 2016
‘For every person with more than $30 million, there are over 4,800 people living in extreme poverty’
The wealth gap in the world keeps growing as the world’s richest get richer at the expense of the poor, according to a new study released this week by an alliance of major organizations. The World Wealth Report from Oxfam, Greenpeace and other groups found that while the total number of millionaires in the world jumped to 15.4 million—up by nearly five million since 2009—more than 702 million people remain in poverty around the globe.
“For every person with more than $30 million, there are over 4,800 people living in extreme poverty,” said Jenny Ricks of the Fight Inequality Alliance. “This gross inequality is a symptom of an unjust and unfair economic system that allows the rich to get richer at the expense of the poor.”
Some of the findings include:
- Global HNWI [High Net Worth Individual] wealth expanded fourfold over the last 20 years to reach US$58.7 trillion in 2015.
- Against the backdrop of growing inequality in many countries, Asia-Pacific surpassed North America to become the region with the largest amount of HNWI wealth.
- Faltering growth in the Americas has slowed the overall rate of HNWI wealth expansion.
- Japan and China are the engines of both Asia-Pacific and global growth.
- Global HNWI wealth is projected to surpass US$100 trillion by 2025.
The figures were compiled by the wealth management group Capgemini. The report also notes that the firm “failed to predict” the global response to rising inequality and the disparities exposed by the Panama Papers, which revealed how global leaders use offshore tax havens to hide their wealth, and other similar scandals.
As TeleSur notes, “The issue of inequality accounted for seven per cent of global protests over a seven year period, according to a 2013 study conducted by the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University.”
And it’s no wonder. Jenny Ricks continued, “Last year the wealth of the richest totalled $58.7 trillion, which is over 150 times the size of the economies of all of the world’s poorest countries combined. This shows the extent money and power are concentrated in the hands of the wealthiest few.”
“The global inequality crisis is undermining the struggle for a fairer and more sustainable world, trampling on the rights of women, workers, and the poorest families,” she said.
The findings were published just days before the UK voted to leave the European Union—making the report’s final message hard to swallow as the anti-poverty alliance called on global leaders to “reverse cuts to public spending, privatization, tax breaks for the wealthy, and the race to the bottom on human rights.”
Rich getting richer at the expense of the poor, Oxfam warns
Since 2009, more than 4.5 million new millionaires have been created, rising to a total of 15.4 million across the world last year, according to new data released by Oxfam on Thursday. The significant increase in millionaires takes place while more than 702 million people live in extreme poverty, which experts argue is due to a “broken economic system.”
“For every person with more than $30 million, there are over 4800 people living in extreme poverty. This gross inequality is a symptom of an unjust and unfair economic system that allows the rich to get richer at the expense of the poor,” Jenny Ricks of the Fight Inequality Alliance said in press release Thursday.
The recent findings come from an annual study carried out by the wealth management group Capgemini, which acknowledged that it had underestimated a growing trend of “pubic outcry against rising inequality and offshore wealth secrecy.”
The issue of inequality accounted for seven per cent of global protests over a seven year period, according to a 2013 study conducted by the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University.
In response to the growing levels of discontent, representatives from the Fight Inequality Alliance called on governments to take immediate measures to reverse cuts to public spending, privatization, tax breaks for the wealthy and other austerity measures. “The global inequality crisis is undermining the struggle for a fairer and more sustainable world, trampling on the rights of women, workers, and the poorest families,” Ricks said in an Oxfam press release.
Income inequality, particularly the share of income received by the top one per cent, has received particular attention in recent years in both developed and developing nations. Most recently, global debates around the issue of inequality was sparked following the scandals such as the one surrounding the Panama Papers, which revealed the scale of tax avoidance by the ultra-rich.
Globally, it is estimated that a total of US$7.6 trillion of individuals’ wealth sits offshore. If tax were paid on the income that this wealth generates, an extra US$190 billion would be available to governments every year, according to Oxfam calculations. Allowing governments to collect the taxes they are owed from companies and rich individuals would be essential in helping world leaders meet their new goal, set last September, to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030, the U.K. charity group Oxfam argued.
The discussion around wealth inequality gained further exposure in 2013 when French author and economist Thomas Piketty released the critically acclaimed book, “Capital in the 21st Century,” which advocates for a globally coordinated effort to impose taxes on the wealthy.
Related news on TeleSur:
Tax havens divert more than $12 trillion out of emerging countries, May 9, 2016
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