Much is currently being made over widening income disparity and wealth inequality as the middle-class continues to shrink. But with all the concern for flat wages and surging home prices, we should take a moment and mourn the fastest shrinking demographic in the world today…the one percent.
According to a report earlier this year by Oxfam, the richest one percent has shrunk from 388 people to just 80, leaving more than 300 billionaires on the outside looking in. By cross referencing research from Credit Suisse and the Forbes annual billionaires list, Oxfam was able to calculate the total wealth of the poorest 50 percent of the world, and how many of the richest people would need to combine their wealth to equal the total of the 3.55 billion people who have the least.
And while wages and wealth have remained relatively stagnant for decades, those eighty individuals have seen their wealth double since 2009. Meanwhile, Oxfam has also determinedthat the bottom 80 percent of the world’s people currently hold just 5.5 percent of the world’s wealth.
Oxfam said it was calling on governments to adopt a seven-point plan:
- Clamp down on tax dodging by corporations and rich individuals.
- Invest in universal, free public services such as health and education.
- Shift taxation from labor and consumption towards capital and wealth.
- Introduce minimum wages and move towards a living wage for all workers.
- Introduce equal pay legislation and promote economic policies to give women a fair deal.
- Ensure adequate safety-nets for the poorest, including a minimum-income guarantee.
- Agree a global goal to tackle inequality.
Since the release of the Oxfam report in January, Credit Suisse released a new report validating the concern for the acceleration of global income disparity as the richest ten percent of people now hold 87.7 percent of all wealth. Mark Goldring, CEO of Oxfam UK was quick to point out just how quickly wealth continues to collect at the very top.
“Eyebrows were raised when earlier this year Oxfam predicted that the richest one per cent would own more than the rest of us by 2016. The fact it has happened a year early – just weeks after world leaders agreed a global goal to reduce inequality – shows just how urgently world leaders need to tackle this problem.”
Here is a list of the 80 people whose wealth now equals the poorest fifty percent of the world: