Tags: Oxfam | wealthiest | 85 | Davos

Charity: 85 Wealthiest as Rich as Half the World

Monday, 20 Jan 2014 08:20 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The combined wealth of the world's 85 richest people is equivalent to the wealth of half of the planet's entire population, new research has found.

A report issued by the British charity, Oxfam, says that the 85 richest people across the globe own as much as the poorest 3.5 billion about $1.6 trillion.

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In addition, the wealth of the top 1 percent of the world's richest people is equal to 46 percent of the world's wealth, or $110 trillion.

"It is staggering that in the 21st Century, half of the world's population own no more than a tiny elite whose numbers could all sit comfortably in a single train carriage," said Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam Executive Director.

"We cannot hope to win the fight against poverty without tackling inequality. Widening inequality is creating a vicious circle where wealth and power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, leaving the rest of us to fight over crumbs from the top table," she said.

The study, entitled "Working for the Few," was published to tie in with the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, and was designed to highlight growing global inequality which it says has been driven by a "power grab" by wealthy elites. It did not identify the 85 richest people.

The report identifies the increase in tax havens, financial deregulation, a regressive tax structure, and austerity imposed on the poor and middle classes, as the main culprits for the widening income gap. It contends that growing inequality undermines democracy, social cohesion and equal opportunity.

The World Economic Forum, a gathering of the world's top leaders in business, politics, and academia, has identified income inequality as one of the greatest risks facing the world in 2014.

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