Last year, the gap between the super-rich and the rest of the world's population widened, as the bulk of wealth was still only a minority.
About 82% of the money received last year went to the richest people on the planet, who make up 1% of the world’s population, while the poorest part of the Earth’s population did not notice any increase in income, Oxfam said in a statement.
These indicators indicate a fall in the entire system, blaming the problem of tax evasion, the influence of firms on politics, the destruction of the foundations of workers' rights and cost reduction amid a widening gap.
In 2017, the 8 richest people in the world had the same wealth as the rest of the world.
This year, 42 people own the same amount of wealth that the poorest part of the planet owns, and last year's indicators were also revised, reaching the level of 61.
The revision was driven by more advanced data, but added that the trend of "widening inequality" continued.
Oxfam's Chief Executive Officer Mark Goldring said that the constant adjustment of the numbers reflects the fact that the report is based on "the maximum available data for a given period."
“However, this is an unacceptable level of inequality,” he said.
The report coincides with the start of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, an annual conference that brings together leading political and business leaders of the world.
The topic of inequality is usually important, but quite often such "tough questions disappear as soon as the first signs of tension and resistance appear in the discussion," Goldring noted.
Indeed, it is quite difficult to determine the wealth of the super-rich and extremely poor people of the planet.
Super-rich do not generally publish data on their well-being, and many of the poorest countries in the world present poor statistics.
To illustrate this, last year Oxfam announced that 8 people have the same wealth as the poorest in the world. Now this indicator has been revised to 61 people last year, this year it fell to 42 people – this is a fairly large change in indicators.
There are a number of points regarding the data on which it is based. For example, they relate to the fact that people on the list of the least wealthy are not at all as hopeless as they might seem.
They can be highly qualified specialists with high student or mortgage loan arrears.
It doesn’t matter, we are talking about 8, 42 or 61 people who have the same wealth as the rest of the world: the problem of enormous inequality still persists throughout the world. And this is the main idea that Oxfam is trying to convey in Davos.
The organization calls for a rethinking of business models that are being implemented, arguing that the emphasis on maximizing shareholder returns, without taking into account the broader social effect, is incorrect.
Two-thirds (72%) of the 70,000 people surveyed in ten countries said they want their governments to "urgently close the income gap between rich and poor."
Mark Littlewood of The Institute of Economic Affairs, an analytical center, said Oxfam is becoming "obsessed with the rich, not the poor."
"Higher taxes and redistribution of income will not help the poor in any way, wealth is not a pie. Richer people are taxed with higher taxes – reducing their wealth will not lead to the redistribution of benefits, it will destroy it, and no one will benefit from it," he added.
It was a criticism repeated by Sam Dumitriou from another think tank, the Adam Smith Institute, who said that the inequality statistics from a charitable organization “always present the wrong picture.”
“In fact, global inequality has declined significantly over the past few decades. As China, India, and Vietnam have implemented neoliberal reforms that enforce property rights, reduce norms and increase competition, there has been a massive increase in wages among the poorest people, leading to more even income distribution in the world. "
Where do these numbers come from?
The Oxfam report is based on data from Forbes and the annual edition of Credit Suisse Global Wealth, which provides data on the distribution of global wealth since 2000.
The survey uses the value of assets, mainly real estate and land, excluding debts, to determine the amount of wealth that a person owns.
Data does not include salary or income data.
This methodology has been criticized, as this means that, for example, a student who has high student loan debt but also has a chance of reaching a high level of earnings in the future will be considered poor according to the criteria presented.
However, Oxfam notes that even if we count the welfare of the poorest half of the world, not counting those who have debts, the total welfare would still be equal to the welfare of 128 billionaires.