62 Billionaires Now Have as Much Wealth as Half the World

Photo (cc) by free pictures of money

The rich have become so much richer that the wealth of the top 62 billionaires in 2015 was equal to the wealth of poorer half of the world population — 3.6 billion people.

By contrast, in 2010, it took 388 billionaires to equal the wealth of the poorer half of the world, according to a new report from Oxfam International, a network of 17 organizations in more than 90 countries that is dedicated to ending poverty. The numbers for the past several years show a clear trend in wealth inequality:

  • 2010: 388 individuals
  • 2011: 177
  • 2012: 159
  • 2013: 92
  • 2014: 80
  • 2015: 62

The report, titled “An Economy for the 1 Percent,” also found:

  • From 2010 through 2015, the wealth of the richest 62 people increased by 44 percent, or more than a half-trillion dollars to $1.76 trillion.
  • During the same five-year span, the wealth of the poorer half of the world population shrank by 41 percent, a loss of just over $1 trillion.
  • Since the turn of the century, the poorer half of the world’s population has received only 1 percent of the total increase in global wealth. The top 1 percent, on the other hand, received half of that increase.

Oxfam cites tax havens as a major factor in the growing wealth gap between the richest and poorest.

The organization reports that an estimated $7.6 trillion of individuals’ wealth sits in offshore tax havens. If taxes were paid on the income that wealth generates, the report said, an extra $190 billion would be available to governments annually.

Oxfam explains on its website:

As a priority, it is calling for an end to the era of tax havens which has seen the increasing use of offshore centers by rich individuals and companies to avoid paying their fair share to society. This has denied governments valuable resources needed to tackle poverty and inequality.

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