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1% of People Own More Wealth Than the Other 99% Combined

ploutosA new Oxfam report, timed to coincide with this week’s gathering of the super-rich at the Annual Economic Forum in Davos, reveals not only some astonishing facts about wealth inequality in today’s world but shows that rising inequality remains unchecked and things will only get worse if something is not done about it.
True enough, wealth and income inequality has emerged as one of the most serious problems facing today’s societies, including those with severe financial problems such as Greece. Indeed, income inequality in financially bankrupt Greece has grown during the crisis, “with the top tenth of society earning 12.3 times more than the poorest in 2012, up from 10.5 in 2007,” according to a recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Oxfam’s new report, titled “Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More,” says that “in 2014, the richest 1% of people in the world owned 48% of global wealth, leaving just 52% to be shared between the other 99% of adults on the planet. Almost all of that 52% is owned by those included in the richest 20%, leaving just 5.5% for the remaining 80% of people in the world.”
As shocking as this may sound, Oxfam’s report underscores the point that “if this trend continues of an increasing wealth share to the richest, the top 1% will have more wealth than the remaining 99% of people in just two years.”
The super-rich have made and sustained their wealth through investments in a few economic sectors, says Oxfam. The leading interests and activities of the super-rich are in the financial and insurance sectors but also in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors.
Oxfam’s report also points out that companies in all of the above sectors spend hundreds of millions of dollars each in lobbying activities i.e., purchasing political influence, so they can influence policies which have a bearing on their business interests. The finance sector, for example, “spent more than $400 million in lobbying in the USA alone,” while in the European Union the financial sector spends around $150 million in lobbying every year.
Of course, no one should expect the super-rich gathering in Davos this week to emphasize the state of affairs in the world economy.
They are there not in order to fix wealth inequality, but to find ways to keep it going for as long as possible.

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