Billionaire wealth rose by an average of 13 per cent each year between 2006 and 2015 – six times faster than wages of average workers
More than 80 per cent of the all the wealth generated globally last year flowed into the coffers of the richest one per cent of the population, a new Oxfam report has revealed.
The research, published on Monday, also shows that the 3.7 billion individuals who make up the poorest half of the global population saw their wealth flatline in 2017 – something that the group of charities describes as “unacceptable and unsustainable”.
“Something is very wrong with a global economy that allows the 1 per cent to enjoy the lion’s share of increases in wealth while the poorest half of humanity miss out,” said Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam in the UK.
“The concentration of extreme wealth at the top is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a system that is failing the millions of hard-working people on poverty wages who make our clothes and grow our food,” he added.
Oxfam is calling for “rethink of legal and business models that prioritise shareholder returns over broader social impact” and said that the new figures underscore “how the excessive corporate influence on policy-making, erosion of workers’ rights and relentless drive to minimise costs in order to maximise returns to investors all contribute to a widening gap between the super-rich and the rest”.
Among the report’s key findings:
- Billionaire wealth has risen by an annual average of 13 percent since 2010 – six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2 percent. The number of billionaires rose at an unprecedented rate of one every two days between March 2016 and March 2017.
- It takes just four days for a CEO from one of the top five global fashion brands to earn what a Bangladeshi garment worker will earn in her lifetime. In the US, it takes slightly over one working day for a CEO to earn what an ordinary worker makes in a year.
- It would cost $2.2 billion a year to increase the wages of all 2.5 million Vietnamese garment workers to a living wage. This is about a third of the amount paid out to wealthy shareholders by the top 5 companies in the garment sector in 2016.
- Dangerous, poorly paid work for the many is supporting extreme wealth for the few. Women are in the worst work, and almost all the super-rich, nine out of ten, are men.
— Alastair Williamson (@StockBoardAsset) January 22, 2018