International Group Calls for ‘An Economy for the 99 Percent’

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The eight richest people in the world now have the same collective wealth as the 3.6 billion people who comprise the poorest half of the world population, according to a new report from Oxfam.

The international nonprofit devoted to ending poverty released the report — titled “An Economy for the 99 Percent: It’s Time to Build a Human Economy That Benefits Everyone, Not Just the Privileged Few” — right before the 2017 World Economic Forum kicked off Tuesday in Switzerland.

The annual meeting brings together “the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities” with the aim of “improving the state of the world,” according to its website.

Alongside Oxfam’s 48-page report, the nonprofit is calling on world leaders like U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to address the causes of the gap between the rich and poor, which Oxfam considers “far greater than had previously been estimated.”

Paul O’Brien, Oxfam America’s vice president for policy and campaigns, notes in a statement issued with the report:

“Americans want the political establishment to wake-up to the way elites and special interests have rigged the system to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. We have seen no proposals from President-elect Trump or his transition team to unrig the rules. In fact, what little detail is available of his team’s proposals indicates quite the opposite.”

According to Oxfam’s report, the causes of growing inequality across the globe center on corporations, which are:

  • Working for those at the top
  • Squeezing workers and producers
  • Dodging taxes
  • [Espousing] super-charged shareholder capitalism
  • [Espousing] crony capitalism

Other causes of inequality involve what the report calls “the super-rich,” who are also blamed for:

  • Avoiding taxes
  • Buying politics

Instead, the report calls for a “human economy,” which would benefit the 99 percent rather than the top 1 percent. Elements of such an economy would include more cooperation among governments, equal rights for women, fair taxation and a more sustainable approach to energy, the report said.

What are your thoughts on the gap between the rich and poor today? What do you make of Oxfam’s stance? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.

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