According to a new report by Oxfam, a non-profit charity organization that polices global wealth, the richest eight people in the world now own as much as the poorest 50% of the global population. This number is up from last year, when the same organization revealed the wealthiest 62 people matched the poorest 50%. Now, it's eight.
The eight people are Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, Amancio Ortega, the founder of the Spanish fashion chain Zara, Warren Buffett, investor and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway. Carlos Slim Helú: the Mexican telecoms tycoon and owner of conglomerate Grupo Carso; Jeff Bezos: the founder of Amazon; Mark Zuckerberg: the founder of Facebook; Larry Ellison, chief executive of US tech firm Oracle; and Michael Bloomberg; a former mayor of New York and founder and owner of the Bloomberg news and financial information service.
This disturbing news comes as a week-long World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, begins to discuss the economic future of the globe.
Oxfam says that aggressive wage restraint, tax dodging and the squeezing of producers by companies are the primary reason for the continuing wage gap increase. They add that the obsession of businesses to deliver ever-higher returns to wealthy owners and top executives is fueling this gruesome outcome.
“From Brexit to the success of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, a worrying rise in racism and the widespread disillusionment with mainstream politics, there are increasing signs that more and more people in rich countries are no longer willing to tolerate the status quo,” the report said.
Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, said: “This year’s snapshot of inequality is clearer, more accurate and more shocking than ever before. It is beyond grotesque that a group of men who could easily fit in a single golf buggy own more than the poorest half of humanity.
“While one in nine people on the planet will go to bed hungry tonight, a small handful of billionaires have so much wealth they would need several lifetimes to spend it. The fact that a super-rich elite are able to prosper at the expense of the rest of us at home and overseas shows how warped our economy has become.”