A small club of the 85 super-wealthy people holds wealth equal to that owned by the bottom half of the global population. The report by Oxfam, titled 'Working For the Few', published ahead of the World Economic Forum meet in Davos, decribes the impact that growing inequality is creating in both developed and developing nations.
The elite have used political power to manipulate the rules of the economic game, weaken democracy and create a world where 85 richest people own the wealth of half the global population, says Oxfam. Further, since the late 1970s, tax rates for the richest have fallen in 29 countries, meaning that in many countries, the rich not only make more money but also pay less taxes. The report says that in the last 25 years, wealth has become so much concentrated in a few hands that just 1% families own almost half (46 %) of global wealth. The richest individuals and companies in the world hide trillions away in safe tax havens around the world. It is estimated that $ 21 trillion (Re. 126000000 Cr) is held unrecorded and off-shore. In India, the number of billionaires has increased ten times in the past decade, helped by a regressive tax system and the political culture, while spending on the poorest remains remarkably low.
Oxfam has sought urgent action to reverse the trend by asking the attendees at the World Economic Forum (WEF) to take a 6-point pledge to address the problem.