The aphorism “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” was evident in Oxfam’s new report released on Monday that says the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth in the past year.
The report titled Reward Work, Not Wealth revealed that 82% of the wealth generated last year went to the richest one percent of the global population further deepening the inequality gap.
Oxfam said it released the report ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to draw the attention of governments to bring their minds to “ how the global economy enables a wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes while hundreds of millions of people are struggling to survive on poverty pay.”
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They also noted that women workers were always at the bottom of the chain earning less than men.
“Women workers often find themselves off at the bottom of the heap. Across the world, women consistently earn less than men and are usually in the lowest paid and least secure forms of work. By comparison, 9 out of 10 billionaires are men,” the report added
According to Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International: “The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors.”
Among the recommendations they made to government to bridge the inequality gap is to: Limit returns to shareholders and top executives, and ensure all workers receive a minimum ‘living’ wage, eliminate the gender pay gap and protect the rights of women workers and ensure the wealthy pay their fair share of tax through higher taxes and a crackdown on tax avoidance, and increase spending on public services such as healthcare and education.
The report called for an action against inequality for workers to be paid a living wage; corporations and the super-rich to pay more tax, and women workers to enjoy the same rights as men.