85 richest people have same wealth as 3.5 billion poorest

Kush Azrael | 2/5/2014, 11:49 a.m.
They keep the wealth concentrated in the hands of a few and they make sure it’s there for the next ...

The richest 85 people in the world are as wealthy as the poorest half of the worlds population according to a report called “Working for the Few,” just released by the human rights group Oxfam.

Oxfam released the study on global inequality late last month just before a meeting of government and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The report states that almost half of the world’s wealth is owned by just one percent of the population. The report also said wealthy elites have used their political power to get lower tax rates, hide wealth offshore, and serve their own interests, at the expense of those from lower income brackets.

They keep the wealth concentrated in the hands of a few and they make sure it’s there for the next generation.

Meanwhile in African global corporations, they use their political influence to avoid taxes which lessens the government’s ability to fight poverty.

Oxfam called on business and government leaders attending the World Economic Forum to support government programs that are helping underserved middle and lower classes, support fair wages and crack down on tax dodging and financial secrecy.

Roughly two thirds of those polled by Oxfam believe the rich have too much influence over the direction their countries.

Researchers said it was likely that the full concentration of wealth is unknown with estimates claiming more than $11 trillion is held unreported and offshore. Seven out of every 10 people live in countries where inequality has increased since the 1980’s and tax rates for the rich have fallen in 29 out of 30 countries where information is available, the report said. Between 1980 and 2012, the wealthiest 1 percent increased their share of the world’s wealth in 24 of the 26 countries Oxfam surveyed.

According to Oxfam, their concern is “not just that half of the world’s population could be bought and sold by a group of individuals who could fit into a large boardroom.” It’s that “this staggering disparity creates a vicious cycle.”

The document also focuses on the impact of this increasing wealth disparity has on human progress.

A total of 210 people became billionaires last year, joining the existing 1,426 billionaires with a combined reported worth of $5.4 trillion.

And the number of the rich is continuing to grow like in India the number of billionaires went from six to 61 in the past 10 years, and their combined net worth is currently $250 billion.

Also according to Oxfam, the richest 1 percent of people in the world have $110 trillion, or 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the worlds population.

“Instead of moving forward together, people are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown,” the report said.