The Haves and the Have Nots

The world’s richest 1 percent will own more than half of global wealth by next year, a report by anti-poverty charity Oxfam revealed.

The richest 1 percent currently own 48 percent of all global wealth, Oxfam said. In 2016 that figure is forecast to exceed 50 percent for the first time.

Using data from Credit Suisse’s latest global wealth report, the charity warned that increasing inequality is curbing the fight against global poverty at a time when more than a billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day.

The report, released ahead of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, shows that global wealth was becoming increasingly concentrated among a small, wealthy elite. “Business as usual for the elite isn’t a cost free option, failure to tackle inequality will set the fight against poverty back decades,” Oxfam Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said. “The poor are hurt twice by rising inequality; they get a smaller share of the economic pie and because extreme inequality hurts growth, there is less pie to be shared around.”

The charity’s report shows that the 80 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent, around 3.5 billion people. This is a decline from last year’s 85 and a “dramatic fall” from 2010 when the ultra-rich were 388. The wealth of the richest 80 doubled in cash terms between 2009-14.

Oxfam called for urgent action to stem rising inequality, beginning with a crackdown on tax dodging by corporations, and a push for progress towards a global deal on climate change.