Twenty-six billionaires own as much wealth as half the world

Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images

Contributed by Jim Hayes

This Monday’s report from Oxfam, spell out am alarming jump in the level of inequality in the global economy. as the richest billionaires cash in. which has Mainly tilted in into the pockets of the richest billionaires. If anything does, this is what spells out the need for major change to build a just society.

What is being seen in the global economy, is being replicated in national economies.

Billionaires have never had it better. The combined riches of the world’s 26 most wealthy billionaires total $1.4 trillion — this is equal to the total wealth of the bottom 3.8 billion of the world’s population.

The report says that the top one percent has increased their wealth by 12 percent this year, while at the same time, the wealth of the poorest half of the world has fallen by 11 percent.

This consolidation is happening at a rapid rate even for the billionaire class, which according to the report has doubled in size since the 2008 financial crisis. In 2016, there were 61 billionaires who controlled half of the world’s wealth. In 2017 the number of billionaires was 43. In 2018, it became 26.

What is being seen in the global economy is being replicated in national economies.

In the United States, the richest one percent took 26.3 times the bottom 99 percent in 2015, according to a report by Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The trend has continued. By contrast, wages grew by only 0.2 percent in the last year. The same report says that much of the benefit is going to the one percent. Wealth is being concentrated at the very top.

This is what has prompted newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to raise her proposal for a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the super wealthy and explains why there an explosion of popularity for it has been.

A recent poll showed that 59 percent of Americans supported the idea.

It is not only in the United states where this widening divide is building.

Oxfam Australia has called on tax reform, because the same divide is growing here too.

According to its findings, 43 billionares are worth $160 billion between them, and the top one percent, has more wealth than the bottom 70 percent combined.

“Oxfam Australia is concerned there is no end in sight to this harmful trend that is concentrating ever more wealth in the hands of the already rich and powerful,” said the charity’s chief executive Helen Szoke.

Perhaps the 70 percent tax on the super-rich should be raised in Australia as well?

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