Eight men own as much as half world’s population: Oxfam report

Poverty and wealth next door to each other in Brazil

Oxfam has revealed in a report published today that eight men own the same as half of the world’s population.

Entitled “An economy for the 99 per cent”, the report reveals that 8 men enjoy an estimated US$426 billion worth of assets, the same as the 3.6 billion who make up the poorest half of humanity.

The report found that the incomes of the poorest 10 per cent increased by less that $3 a year between 1988 and 2011, while the incomes of the richest 1 per cent increased 182 fold.

Oxfam has said new and better data shows that the situation is worse than first thought.

“It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day.  Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy,” Winnie Byanyima, the Executive Director of Oxfam International said.

The report also shows how broken economies are funneling wealth to a rich elites at the expense of the poorest in society, the majority of whom are women.

Oxfam has called for a “more human economy” that includes an increase in taxes on both wealth and high income, cooperation rather competition between governments, decent wages and economies for women.

The report coincides with the opening of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

The richest eight:

Bill Gates – $US75 billion
Amancio Ortega – $US67 billion
Warren Buffett – $US60.8 billion
Carlos Slim Helu – $US50 billion
Jeff Bezos – $US45.2 billion
Mark Zuckerberg – $US44.6 billion
Larry Ellison – $US43.6 billion
Michael Bloomberg – $US40 billion