The world’s 100 richest people earned enough money last year to end world extreme poverty four times over, according to a new report revealed by international rights group and charity Oxfam.
Oxfam says that the richest one per cent of the world’s population have increased their income by 60% in the last 20 years and that rapid accumulation of wealth by the world’s top one percent continues on an unprecedented scale at the expense of the needs of the world’s poorest.
The report was published before the World Economic Forum in Davos next week. The group has called on world leaders to commit to reducing inequality to the levels it was at in 1990, and to curb income extremes on both sides of the spectrum.
The group said the “explosion of wealth” at the top has undermined efforts to fight global extreme poverty.
The Oxfam report says that while the world’s 100 richest made a net income of $240bn (£150bn) in 2012, the world’s poorest subsisted on less than $1.25 (78p) a day. The report said the $240 billion net income of the world’s 100 richest could end global poverty four times over.
The chief executive of Oxfam, Barbara Stocking, said it was no longer possible to pretend that the “explosion of wealth” for a minority would have beneficial trickle-down effect for the majority. She said that on the contrary the “reverse is true.”
Stocking said: “Concentration of resources in the hands of the top 1% depresses economic activity and makes life harder for everyone else – particularly those at the bottom of the economic ladder.”