THE 62 wealthiest people in the world own as much as the poorest half of the world’s population, said a report by Oxfam International.
According to the report, since 2010, the wealth of the world’s poorer half, which numbers at 3.6 billion people, has decreased by a trillion, while the wealth of the 62 richest people increased by $US500 billion to $US1.76 trillion.
Mark Goldring, the Oxfam GB chief executive, said:
“It is simply unacceptable that the poorest half of the world population owns no more than a small group of the global super-rich.”
He went on to say that world leaders’ concern about the escalating inequality crisis had so far not translated into concrete action to ensure that those at the bottom received their fair share of economic growth.
Oxfam urged the use of a three-pronged approach to overcome the gap: a crackdown on tax dodging; higher investment in public services; and higher wages for low-paid workers.
It added that priority should be placed on closing down tax havens, which have been increasingly used by rich individuals and companies to avoid paying taxes and are depriving governments of the resources needed to tackle poverty and inequality.
— Oxfam (@oxfamgb) January 18, 2016
Oxfam also cited estimates that rich individuals have placed a total of $US7.6 trillion in offshore accounts, adding that if taxes were paid on the income generated by the amount, an extra $US190 billion would be available to governments every year.
The report was released ahead of this week’s gathering at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the world’s financial and political elite are set to meet. The wealth of the richest 62 was calculated using Forbes’ 2015 billionaires list, published in March last year.
Asian billionaires have a strong presence on the list, with 12 of them making the top 62. Their portfolios are diverse, ranging from real estate to e-commerce.
Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, tops the list as the richest Asian, standing at #17 in the overall rankings with a net worth of $US33.3 billion.
ASIA’S RICHEST BILLIONAIRES
- Li Ka-shing (Hong Kong) — $33.3 bil
- Lee Shau Kee (Hong Kong) — $24.8 bil
- Wang Jianlin (China) — $24.2 bil
- Jack Ma (China) — $22.7 bil
- Li Hejun (China) — $21.1 bil
- Mukesh Ambani (India) — $21 bil
- Tadashi Yanai (Japan) — $20.2 bil
- Dilip Shanghvi (India) — $20 bil
- Azim Premji (India) — $19.1 bil
- Ma Huateng (China) — $16.1 bil
- Thomas & Raymond Kwok (Hong Kong) — $15.9 bil
- Robin Li (China) — $15.3 bil