Eight men as wealthy as poorest 3.6bn people

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The eight richest men own as much of the world’s wealth as the poorest half of world’s population, according to a study by Oxfam.

The charity said the wealth gap between the world’s rich and poor “is far greater than had been feared” and the global economy is broken.

Amongst a variety of recommendations to help make a fairer world, Oxfam called for a living wage for all employees and a crack-down on tax avoidance by the global elite.

The charity estimates that the wealth of the world’s richest individuals has risen by 11% per year since the financial collapse of 2008/9, far quicker than wealth increases to the other 99% of the global population.

Whilst some billionaires have donated huge sums to charities in attempts to address poverty, Oxfam argues that many could do more.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB Chief Executive, said:
“This year’s snapshot of inequality is clearer, more accurate and more shocking than ever before. It is beyond grotesque that a group of men who could easily fit in a single golf buggy own more than the poorest half of humanity.

“While one in nine people on the planet will go to bed hungry tonight a small handful of billionaires have so much wealth they would need several lifetimes to spend it. The fact that a super-rich elite are able to prosper at the expense of the rest of us at home and overseas shows how warped our economy has become.

“Inequality is not only keeping millions of people trapped in poverty, it is fracturing our societies and poisoning our politics. It’s just not right that top executives take home massive bonuses while workers’ wages are stagnating or that multinationals and millionaires dodge taxes while public services are being cut.”

The charity published its analysis as global political and business elites gather in Davos, Switzerland, for their annual meeting.

The world’s eight richest billionaires

  1. Bill Gates (US): co-founder of Microsoft (net worth $75bn)
  2. Amancio Ortega (Spain): founder of Zara owner Inditex (net worth $67bn)
  3. Warren Buffett (US): largest shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway (net worth $60.8bn)
  4. Carlos Slim Helu (Mexico): owner of Grupo Carso (net worth $50bn)
  5. Jeff Bezos (US): founder and chief executive of Amazon (net worth $45.2bn)
  6. Mark Zuckerberg (US): co-founder and chief executive of Facebook (net worth $44.6bn)
  7. Larry Ellison (US): co-founder and chief executive of Oracle (net worth $43.6bn)
  8. Michael Bloomberg (US): owner of Bloomberg LP (net worth $40bn)

Source: Forbes magazine, March 2016

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