Oxfam have released a devastating new report which shows that inequality is increasing faster than ever before. They has revealed that 62 people have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population- 3.6bn people.
We knew inequality was bad, after all, it was only a few months ago that a billionaire from Hong Kong was able to buy a $48m blue diamond for his daughter as a gift. This was around the same time that here, in the UK, it was revealed that around 600 people had killed themselves whilst undergoing the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) ‘fit to work tests’. These tests decide whether a person who has a disability (or someone who has a long-term illness) and is a recipient of benefits, should remain on welfare or have their support cut and be forced into work.
We also knew that corporations were doing all they can to avoid corporation tax. In December last year, we reported how seven of the world’s biggest investment banks paid a tiny amount or no corporation tax at all, in the UK. The banks that caused the financial crisis were doing all they can do avoid helping the UK escape the crisis in order to maximise their profits.
But it appears things are worse than we feared as many corporations are not paying their fair share of tax. This is having a damaging impact on world poverty and inequality.
Oxfam’s research, which uses Credit Suisse data, attribute this inequality to corporations avoiding tax.
Oxfam has calculated that:
Poor countries are losing at least $170 billion a year to tax havens – money that is desperately needed for vital services like healthcare and education
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In 2010, 388 individuals held the same wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. Whilst that figure is deplorable, it looks a damn sight better than the current figures.
Oxfam asserted that:
Instead of an economy that works for the prosperity of all, for future generations, and for the planet, we have instead created an economy for the 1%.
In order to achieve a more prosperous world, Oxfam calls for: a living wage, gender equality, action to be taken on lobbying, a reduction in the price of medicines, a higher rate of tax on wealth and an increase in public spending.
It is increasingly obvious that the gap between the 1% and the 99% cannot be sustained. It is about time that governments took Oxfam’s advice and started taking action before it is too late.
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