Wealth and Poverty in the World
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
According to Winnie Byanyime, Executive Director of the prestigious NGO Oxfam International, the concentration of the world’s wealth increased in 2018 and 26 billionaires have as much money as the 3.8 billion people who make up half of the world’s current population. So the growing gap between rich and poor is damaging the economy and causing global anger.
Byanyime says that dividends distributed worldwide have increased by 30% in 7 years, and so governments should ensure that large companies and the wealthiest pay their share of taxes for which they are legally liable. She made this statement on the occasion of the issuing of the annual report of Oxfam International at the World Economic Forum (WEF) held last week in Davos, Switzerland.
According to figures from Oxfam, whose methodology is based on data published by Forbes Magazine and Credit Suisse Bank, many world-renowned economists question the fact that 26 people alone have as much money as half the world’s population, when just last year this wealth was shared by 43 billionaires.
In the case of Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, who is considered the richest man in the world, it was noted in Davos that in 2018 he had 112 billion dollars and that 1% of that fortune was equivalent to the health budget of Ethiopia. It was also pointed out that the fortune of the world’s billionaires grew by 900 billion dollars in 2018 at a rate of 2.5 billion per day, while the poorest half of the population fell by 11%. Oxfam also says that the number of billionaires has doubled since the 2008 financial crisis and that the rich not only enjoy a rapidly expanding fortune, but also have had the lowest tax levels for several decades.
Oxfam says that if the current trend were reversed, most governments in the world would have enough resources to finance public services. Mrs. Byanyime adds that for every dollar in taxes on income paid worldwide, only 4 cents come from wealth taxation.
Oxfam reports that the wealthiest hide 7.6 trillion tax dollars in countries like Brazil or the UK and that 10% of the poorest people pay proportionally higher taxes than the rich.
In France, the “Yellow Vests” movement is reviving the debate on the elimination of the solidarity tax on wealth (ISF) created by President Macron, while in the US the Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed a 70% increase in taxes on the wealthiest, according to figures estimated by the distinguished economist Paul R Krugman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics.
Addendum: It is obvious that this huge bubble being created by the growth of wealth globally for a few people who do not pay taxes is bound to explode very soon and will lead the world into a crisis similar to that which occurred at the beginning of the 20th century. This will give rise to a visceral hatred among the different countries throughout the world and the breakup and disappearance of the precarious world order that now exists.