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Oxfam: Richest One Percent to Own Half of the World's Wealth


Winnie Byanyima, executive director of the charity Oxfam, seen here in May 8, 2014 file photo.

Winnie Byanyima, executive director of the charity Oxfam, seen here in May 8, 2014 file photo.

A report from the nonprofit group Oxfam says the richest one percent of people in the world will have a majority of the wealth on the planet in 2016. The report was released Monday ahead of the annual World Economic Forum meeting this week in Davos, Switzerland.

The global wealth of the richest people on Earth climbed to 48 percent in 2014. That has increased from 44 percent in 2009. It is likely to pass 50 percent in 2016.

Oxfam says that the '"explosion in inequality"' is holding back the fight against global poverty. The group estimates that one in nine people do not have enough to eat and that more than a billion people still live on just over $1 a day.

The report said the 80 wealthiest people in the world own $1.9 trillion. That is nearly the same amount shared by the 3.5 billion people at the bottom half of the world's income scale.

Winnie Byanyima is the executive director of Oxfam. She will co-chair the World Economic Forum event. She plans to use her position at the meeting to call for urgent action to stop rising inequality.

Oxfam is asking governments around the world to deal with a number of issues of inequality. The organization is calling on governments to prevent companies and rich individuals from avoiding taxes. It is asking governments to shift taxes from labor and consumption to wealth and income.

One proposal is to invest in free public services such as healthcare and education. The organization also wants governments to introduce minimum wages for workers, equal pay for women, universal childcare and elderly care services.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Jonathan Evans wrote this story for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in this Story

co-chairv. to lead - together with another person - a meeting, organization, committee, or event

inequality – n. an unfair situation in which some people have more rights or better opportunities than other people

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