Post Views: 5,288 Four years after the World Economic Forum identified rising economic inequality as a major threat to social stability, three years s...
Four years after the World Economic Forum identified rising economic inequality as a major threat to social stability, three years since the World Bank crafted its goal for ending poverty with the need for shared prosperity and series of treaties to reduce inequality, the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen helplessly.
The reality, according to an Oxfam briefing paper published on Sunday, is that “eight of the world’s richest men today own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world.
Over the next 20 years, the report continued, “500 people will hand over $2.1 trillion to their heirs – a sum larger than the GDP of India, a country of 1.3 billion people.”
This, the report said, is coming at a time when “the incomes of the poorest 10% of people increased by less than $3 a year between 1988 and 2011, while the incomes of the richest 1% increased 182 times as much.”
To bring the number closer home, the report said the Chief Executive of a company listed on the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE-100 earns as much in a year as 10,000 people working in garment factories in Bangladesh, while a new research report in the U.S by economist Thomas Piketty shows that over the last 30 years income growth in the bottom 50% has been zero, whereas that of the top 1% have risen 300%.
“In Vietnam, the country’s richest man earns more in a day than the poorest person earns in 10 years.”
Such equality, if left unchecked, Oxfam argued, growing inequality threatens to pull the human societies apart, giving rise to such ills as crime and insecurity, besides undermining the fight to end poverty. The medium to long term effect is that such leaves more people living in fear and fewer in hope.
The report re-echoed the words of U.S President Barak Obama to the UN General Assembly in his parting shot September last year: ‘A world where 1% of humanity controls as much wealth as the bottom 99% will never be stable.’