In 2017, the wealth gap is wider then ever before. Just eight billionaires have a net worth of more than half the world’s population combined. To illustrate the rate at which this growth continues to occur, last year there were 62 individuals who had collectively accumulated as much wealth as half the planet. The gap continues to grow, and Americans continue to fork over their money to companies like Microsoft and Amazon. In fact, six of the eight wealthiest men are Americans.
An analysis from Oxfam warns that the gap between the rich and the poor is greater than ever. In their report, An Economy for the 99%, Oxfam describes the gap as “obscene.” The analysis reveals that eight very wealthy men have a combined net worth of $426 billion. There are 3.6 billion people comprising the poorest half of the world’s population, and their combined net worth is only $409 billion.
The recent report calls for a crackdown on tax evasion, and suggests a move away from super-charged shareholder capitalism, which pays out the rich in a disproportionate manner. One troubling statistic from the report suggests that from 1988 through 2011, the poorest 10 percent of humanity only increased their income by 3 dollars or less per year. During that same time frame, the richest 1 percent multiplied their income by 182 times as much.
Oxfam GB Chief Executive, Mark Goldring, noted that the inequality snapshot is much clearer this year; it’s more accurate and shocking than ever.
“It is beyond grotesque that a group of men who could easily fit in a single golf buggy own more than the poorest half of humanity,” said Goldring, who argues that one in nine people will go to bed hungry each night, while a handful of billionaires would need several lifetimes to spend what they have accumulated. The elite and extremely wealthy prosper at the expense of everyone else, showing just how twisted the world has become.
Inequality keeps millions of people trapped in poverty. It’s not right that top executives are taking home massive bonuses, while the bulk of workers, carrying the bulk of the workload, continue to earn meager and stagnant wages. Public services are being cut everywhere, and the richest multinationals and millionaires keep finding loopholes to dodge taxes.
Oxfam’s head of policy, Max Lawson, believes that Trump and Brexit are good hope indicators, but still sees a lack of feasible alternatives to “business as usual.” Lawson suggests that capitalism should operate very differently, in ways that benefit the majority. Inequality is a serious issue, especially when billionaires are paying much lower tax rates than their housekeepers and secretaries are.
All around the world, companies are trying hard to reduce labor costs. If you were to define greed, these companies certainly don’t care about their workers. Why such poor wages for the ones who help the elite amass their fortunes? Employers are cutting costs to ensure workers and producers in their supply chains get the smallest possible piece of the economic pie. Inequality is increased and demand is suppressed. Key triggers for the disparity are crony capitalism, tax dodging and labor exploitation. Corporations maximize their revenue by paying as little in taxes as they can. They use tax havens or make other countries compete to provide them with tax breaks, exemptions and lower rates.
Crony capitalism heavily benefits the wealthy, while smaller businesses struggle to compete. Everyday people are paying more for goods and services because of the monopolization of corporate power, gained through their connections within the government. (RELATED: See more corruption news at Corruption.news)
Here are the eight wealthiest men, according to the Forbes billionaire list.
1. Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, investor, author and philanthropist, with a net worth of $75 billion.
2. Amancio Ortega of Spain’s source of wealth is Zara. His net worth is $67 billion.
3. Warren Buffett is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, with a net worth of $60.8 billion.
4. Carlos Slim Helu, from Mexico, is a telecoms giant with a net worth of $50 billion.
5. Jeff Bezos is the chairman, founder and CEO of Amazon, with a net worth of $45.2 billion.
6. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Facebook, has a net worth of $44.6 billion.
7. Larry Ellison is the co-founder and CEO of Oracle, with a net worth of $43.6 billion.
8. Michael Bloomberg, founder, owner and CEO of Bloomberg LP, has a net worth of $40 billion.
H/t reader kevin a.
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