Tax evasion by corporations and wealthy individuals to invest in universal and free public services is one of the ways in which the richest 1% will increase its share.
As we had announced in 2013, the wealth accumulated by the most powerful and influential 1% population will exceed that of the remaining 99% next year, if current trends of rising inequality continue as they are.
Every year, the richest multiply their ownings of power and resources around the world by exponential margins, so it would not be a surprise to see them hold more than half of the wealth on planet Earth earlier than 2016. This is the latest advisory coming from the aid and development organization Intermon-Oxfam, whose newest report will be presented at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
In a new paper entitled Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More, Oxfam points out how the richest 1% of the world has increased its share of global wealth from 44% in 2009 to 50% in 2014, and that the richest elite is likely to exceed 50% by 2016.
The executive director of Oxfam, Winnie Byanyima, one of the co-chairs of Davos warned that the explosion of inequality is holding back the fight against global poverty at a time when 1 in 9 people have not enough to eat and more than one billion people still live on less than $ 1.25 a day.
“Do you really want to live in a world where 1% have more than the rest of us combined? The magnitude of global inequality is simply amazing, and although the issue is on the agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is expanding rapidly,” Byanyima said.
“We have seen world leaders, from President Obama to Christine Lagarde, speaking about the need to address the fight against extreme inequality, but we are still awaiting many of them to take steps forward. It time for our leaders to set aside the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a more just and prosperous world,” emphasized Byanyima.
In Davos, Byanyima will make a call for urgent action to stem this rising tide of inequality, and to launch a crackdown on tax evasion by companies, and to drive progress towards a global agreement on climate change, which most controlled opposition groups still buys as one of the most significant threats to human existence.
“The current trends that elites impose on markets is another side of the coin: the failure of policies to combat inequality that marked the fight against poverty decades ago,” added Byanyima.
“Poor people are being beaten hit twice due to increasing inequality as they receive a smaller share of the economic pie and since extreme inequality impairs growth, there is less pie to go around for everyone,” he said.
Oxfam made headlines in Davos last year by revealing that the 85 richest people in the world have the same wealth as the poorest 50%. That figure is down to 80 people. Back in 2010, that figure was 388 people. The wealth of the 80 richest in terms of income doubled between 2009 and 2014.
Oxfam also describes how 20% of billionaires, those who possess over $1 billion worldwide, have interests in the financial and insurance sectors and how this groups’ real wealth has increased by 11% in the last 12 months. These sectors spent $550 million on policies to lobby in Washington and Brussels in 2013.
Billionaires with interests in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors saw their net worth grow by 47%, and spent more than 500 million lobbying in Washington and Brussels.
Oxfam is concerned that the lobbying power of these sectors is a major obstacle to reform the overall tax system and for intellectual property to impede the access to lifesaving drugs for the world’s poorest.
In order to curb extreme inequality, Oxfam calls on the governments to combat tax evasion by corporations and wealthy individuals to invest in universal and free public services in areas such as health and education.
The organization also calls for a fairer distribution of taxation and changes to shift from taxing labor and consumption towards imposing the tax on capital and wealth. It also aims to introduce and increase minimum wages, although most poor people disagree with such a thing, introduce legislation on equal pay and implement economic policies to give women fair treatment, and ensure adequate safety nets for the poorest.
With all its recent problems, Europe does not escape the tentacles of a less equal world. Oxfam said that in the old continent Spain is “the second most unequal country in thebloc, just behind Latvia“. He also noted that Spain has the “least effective” tax system to reduce the problem.
“The top 1 percent of the Spanish population concentrated more wealth than the 70 poorest,” says Oxfam, while warning that “current policies reinforce this concentration of wealth in a few hands.” This is one of the reasons why Catalans want autonomy to decide what they do with their land, production and resources.
“Recently, all political opposition parties publicly committed to the initiative of Oxfam for a general state budget equity“, said the CEO of Oxfam, José María Vera. Both in Europe and around the world, Oxfam hopes that the commitment is translated into action as supposed to useless rhetoric, as it has happened so far.
“In the current context, citizens do not understand why political parties do not focus of economic programs or measures that allow the State to raise more than those who have more“, said Vera.
The Director General of Oxfam has called on politicians to start to “redistribute wealth in the form of investment in basic social services and public policies that benefit the most vulnerable.”
Read here Intermon-Oxfam’s Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More – Data and calculations
Read the full report by Intermon-Oxfam’s Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More
Luis Miranda is an award-winning journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief at The Real Agenda News. His career spans over 18 years and almost every form of news media. His articles include subjects such as environmentalism, Agenda 21, climate change, geopolitics, globalisation, health, vaccines, food safety, corporate control of governments, immigration and banking cartels, among others. Luis has worked as a news reporter, on-air personality for Live and Live-to-tape news programs. He has also worked as a script writer, producer and co-producer on broadcast news.