More than 80% of entire global wealth is controlled by the richest 1% of the population, according to a report by charity Oxfam.
And while billionaires continue to get richer, the 3.7 billion people making up the poorest half of the world’s population saw no improvement in their finances.
The study Reward Work, Not Wealth, argues that the current state of the world economy is unacceptable and unsustainable.
Super rich minority
“It’s simply not right that a super-rich minority accumulates vast wealth while hundreds of millions of people struggle to survive on poverty pay. The world needs a rethink of legal and business models that prioritise shareholder returns over broader social impact,” said a spokesman for the charity.
“Excessive corporate influence on policy-making, erosion of workers’ rights and relentless drive to minimise costs to maximise returns to investors all contribute to a widening gap between the super-rich and the rest.”
The report explains that the CEO of one of the world’s five largest fashion retailers earns more in four days than a Bangladeshi garment worker providing clothing sold by the retailers earns in a lifetime.
Global economy not working
Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB Chief Executive, said: “Something is very wrong with a global economy that allows the 1% to enjoy the lion’s share of increases in wealth while the poorest half of humanity miss out. 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.
“The world has made huge strides forward in ending poverty, but progress could be even faster if we did more to break down the barriers that are holding back the world’s poorest people. For work to be a genuine route out of poverty we need to ensure that ordinary workers receive a living wage and can insist on decent conditions, and that women are not discriminated against. If that means less for the already wealthy then that is a price that we – and they – should be willing to pay.
“Leaders should ensure that wealthy individuals and businesses pay their fair share of tax by cracking down on tax avoidance, and invest this into essential services like schools and hospitals, and creating jobs for young people.”