25.01.2018 |

World’s richest 1% get 82% of wealth generated in 2017, Oxfam says

Global income growth - who benefits? (Photo: CC0)

82% of the wealth generated in 2017 went to the top 1% the world’s population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half saw no increase at all. This is the finding of a new report published by the charity organisation Oxfam ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The report ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’ reveals how the global economy enables a wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes while hundreds of millions of people are struggling to survive. According to Oxfam, last year the number of billionaires rose at an unprecedented rate, one more every two days. There are now 2,043 dollar billionaires worldwide. In 12 months, the wealth of this elite group has increased by $762bn. This would have been enough money to end extreme poverty in the world seven times over. While billionaire wealth has risen by an annual average of 13% since 2010, the wages of ordinary workers have increased by a yearly average of just 2%. “The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International. “The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors.”

The report says 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. Shareholders and corporate bosses benefit at the expense of workers’ pay and conditions. According to Oxfam, the key drivers behind this trend are the erosion of workers’ rights; the excessive influence of big business over government policy-making; and the relentless corporate drive to minimize costs in order to maximize returns to shareholders. Across the world, women consistently earn less than men, not only at the top where 9 out of 10 billionaires are men. A disproportionately large share of women remain trapped in low pay and poverty wages, working in least secure forms of work. “Oxfam has spoken to women across the world whose lives are blighted by inequality,” explains Byanyima. “Women in Vietnamese garment factories who work far from home for poverty pay and don’t get to see their children for months at a time. Women working in the US poultry industry who are forced to wear nappies because they are denied toilet breaks.”

Oxfam calls on governments to create a more equal society by prioritizing ordinary workers and small-scale food producers instead of the rich and powerful. The organisation calls on governments to limit returns to shareholders and top executives, and ensure all workers receive a minimum ‘living’ wage that would enable them to have a decent quality of life. For example, in Nigeria, the legal minimum wage would need to be tripled to ensure good living standards. Oxfams also demands the elimination of the gender pay gap and better protection of the rights of women workers. It needs to be ensured that the rich pay their fair share of tax through higher taxes and a crackdown on tax avoidance. In addition, spending on public services such as healthcare and education must increase. Reducing inequality is not just a pipe dream of development organisations: In 2015, world leaders adopted a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among other objectives, they commited to eradicating extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030, ending hunger and malnutrition and reducing inequalities within and among countries. With the report, Oxfam reminds them that it is now time for action. (ab)

Zurück zu den Meldungen


Unterstützer von Verlag der Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft e.V. Bioland biovision Brot für die Welt Brot für alle Bund für Umwelt- und Naturschutz Deutschland Demeter Zukunftsstiftung Entwicklung in der GLS Treuhand Hilfswerk der Evangelischen Kirchen Schweiz Heidehof Stiftung Mission EineWelt Misereor Naturland Public Eye | Erklärung von Bern Rapunzel - Wir machen Bio aus Liebe Swiss Aid, Ihr mutiges Hilfswerk tegut W-E-G Stiftung
English versionEnglish versionDeutsche Version