According to a new report by Oxfam titled Working For The Few the wealth of the 1% richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion, or 65 times as much as the poorest half of the world. Notably Oxfam does not buy into the nonsense about technology and education leading to yawning gaps in wealth inequality but properly notes that abuses of power and thievery are principally to blame.
The Oxfam report also notes the ill effects of concentrated economic power leading to political dysfunction, corruption, and instability as the richest use their wealth to capture more.
Winnie Byanyima, the Oxfam executive director who will attend the Davos meetings, said: “It is staggering that in the 21st Century, half of the world’s population – that’s three and a half billion people – own no more than a tiny elite whose numbers could all fit comfortably on a double-decker bus.”
Oxfam also argues that this is no accident either, saying growing inequality has been driven by a “power grab” by wealthy elites, who have co-opted the political process to rig the rules of the economic system in their favour.
The rich get richer after they buy things, like governments. The plutocracy in all its glory.
One of the country’s with the worst trend in recent years is the United States though the public seems to have finally caught on as a recent Gallup Poll notes that 67% of Americans are dissatisfied with income and wealth distribution.
Note that independents not partisan Republicans or Democrats are the most dissatisfied. More and more voters are registering as Independents as the duopoly parties fail to act on inequality and other important issues the public cares about.
The report comes before the richest of the rich meet arrive at their annual meeting Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Typically the event provides opportunities to intone with great pathos on the problems of the poor while scheming in the backrooms to game regulations, cheat the tax man, and rapaciously scoop out profits from exploiting the poor.
Maybe this year the plutocrats will think twice after reading this Oxfam report – nah.