$240bn earned by 100 richest people could end extreme poverty four times over

Photo Credit: Chris Reynolds/

Photo Credit: Chris Reynolds/

In the report, “The Cost of Inequality: How Wealth and Income Extremes Hurt Us All”, Oxfam states that “rapidly growing extreme wealth and inequality are harmful to human progress, and that something needs to be done.”

According to Oxfam’s report, published, yesterday, a week before the World Economic Forum in Davos, inequality has grown dramatically in many countries over the last thirty years. For example, in the US, share of national income going to the top 1% has doubled from 10 to 20%. At the same time, the report notes that “in the UK inequality is rapidly returning to levels not seen since the time of Charles Dickens” and that “Chinese inequality levels are now similar to those in South Africa.”  The $240 billion added to the wealth of the top 100 billionaires in 2012 could be enough to end world poverty four times over, the report says.

At global level, the top 1% (about 60 million  people) had increased their incomes by 60% in the past 20 years and the income growth for the even more select few ranked in the top 0.01% (about 600,000 individuals) has been even greater. The current levels of inequality are characterized as economically damaging and inefficient and extreme wealth and inequality is said to undermine societies. The report on Global Risk published by World Economic Forum also rated inequality as one of the top global risks of 2013. For more information on the report please see: The Cost of Inequality: How Wealth and Income Extremes Hurt Us All.


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    • It seems to me that now would be a good time to encourage the ‘obscenely’ wealthy to give in ways they haven’t before. Think outside the box….we need to stop puttingl ittle bandaids on the worlds problems and start looking for effective long term change – big change. Quit accepting corruption, delays, well worn interventions as the norm.

      I’m currently in Jamaica where literacy is low – and the population is required to pay for a ‘public’ education! A family is lucky if they have $60 USD per week to live on. Energy is outrageously expensive – in a land of sun and wind…many people live with only one light bulb. Food prices are outrageous by North American standards. Squatters live on public lands until their homes are razed….who can afford a place to live? The police openly take bribes and the national politicians aren’t much better. I know many very hard working people who are honest, caring, and passionate about their country’s future.

      It would be wonderful if one of the ‘100’ could focus their attention on a full scale, long term, sustainable way to approach even one of these issues.

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