The growing concentration of global wealth has been underlined by a report showing that the 26 wealthiest billionaires have as many assets as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the planet's population.
In an annual wealth audit published to mark the beginning of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the charity for development Oxfam 2018 was a year in which the rich became richer and the poor poorer.
The widening gap would hinder the fight against poverty, adding that a 1% wealth tax would raise about $ 418 billion a year, enough to educate all out-of-school children and provide health care for children. Avoid 3 million deaths.
Oxfam said the wealth of more than 2,200 billionaires worldwide rose by $ 900 billion in 2018, or $ 2.5 billion a day. The 12% increase in the wealth of the richest contrasted with an 11% drop in the wealth of the poorest half of the world's population.
As a result, the report concludes, the number of billionaires with as much wealth as half of the world's population dropped 43 in 2017 at 26 last year. In 2016, the number was 61.
The report's conclusions include:
The richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, saw his fortune increase to 112 billion dollars. Only 1 percent of his fortune equals the entire health budget of Ethiopia, a country of 105 million people.
The poorest 10% of Britons pay a higher effective tax rate than the richest 10% (49% vs. 34%) once consumption taxes such as VAT have been taken into account. .
Matthew Spencer, Oxfam's Director of Campaigns and Policy, said, "The massive drop in the number of people living in extreme poverty is one of the greatest achievements of the past quarter-century, but growing inequality new progress.
"The way our economies are organized means that wealth is increasingly and unjustly concentrated among a small number of privileged people, while millions of people barely survive. Women are dying for lack of decent maternity care and children are denied education that could lift them out of poverty. No one should be sentenced to an earlier grave or a life of illiteracy simply because he was born poor.
"It does not have to be that way: there is enough wealth in the world to give everyone a chance to succeed in life. Governments must ensure that taxes on wealth and businesses that pay their fair share are used to finance free and high-quality public services that can save and transform people's lives. "
The report says that many governments aggravate inequality by not investing enough in public services. He noted that about 10,000 people a day die for lack of health care and that 262 million children were not attending school, often because their parents were not able to pay fees, uniforms or manuals.
Oxfam said governments need to do more to fund high-quality universal public services by tackling tax evasion and ensuring fairer tax, including business and people's wealth. richer, often overexploited.
The French economist Thomas Piketty has called for a global wealth tax, saying action must be taken to end the trend of inequality.
The world Inequality The 2018 report – co-authored by Piketty – showed that between 1980 and 2016, the poorest 50% of humanity had captured only 12 cents per dollar of global income growth. In contrast, the richest 1% earned 27 cents of every dollar.
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Oxfam said that in addition to fighting inequality at home, developed countries that currently do not meet their foreign aid commitments could generate the missing billions needed to fight extreme poverty in developing countries. poorer by raising taxes on extreme wealth.
China's rapid growth over the last four decades has been responsible for much of the decline of extreme poverty However, according to Oxfam, data from the World Bank showed that the poverty reduction rate had been halved since 2013. In sub-Saharan Africa, extreme poverty was on the rise.
Oxfam explained that its methodology for assessing the gap between rich and poor was based on global wealth distribution data provided by Credit Suisse's global wealth data collection covering the period of June 2017 to June 2018 The wealth of billionaires was calculated with the help of billionaire Forbes annual. list published in March 2018.
• This article was amended on January 21, 2019 to clarify that the figure of 10,000 people who die for lack of health care is calculated daily.