The World’s Richest 1 Percent Claimed 82 Percent of All New Wealth Last Year

The global economy is a joke. It may be “growing” but it’s not becoming any more inclusive according to the latest Oxfam report, Reward Work, Not Wealth. 82 percent of the new wealth generated in 2017 went straight to the richest 1 percent of all people. Even more discouragingly, none of the new wealth went to the poorest 50 percent of all people on this planet.

Clearly, that’s not a system that’s fostering upward mobility. Rather, it’s a system that consolidates wealth amongst a handful of extremely fortunate individuals at the expense and comfort of so many others. Oxfam calculates that the top 42 richest people have as much money as the bottom 50 percent combined. Moreover, the top 1 percent has more than the bottom 99 percent combined.

Given that we share a planet with 7.6 billion people, that’s obviously not an equitable distribution of resources. Capitalism deserves some intense scrutiny if this outcome is the natural progression of this system.

Remember: Money is a human creation. It’s people in power who have decided how much money exists and the ways in which people can obtain it. It’s hard to imagine that global population would agree that the current structure makes any sense.

When someone says that there’s simply not enough money to take care of everyone, they’re lying to protect the status quo. Last year, the world’s billionaires saw their wealth increased by $762 billion. We could use that new profit alone to end global poverty seven times over.

Speaking of billionaires, Oxfam keeps tabs on the total number of billionaires, a figure that currently stands at 2,043 worldwide. You’d be mistaken to assume they built their fortunes on merit, however, since Oxfam also charts how they made this money. Roughly two-thirds of these billionaires obtained their money through “inheritance, monopoly and cronyism.” Apparently, corruption, a lack of competition and blood relation are the best ways to become insanely wealthy.

What’s worse is that these billionaires are typically inflating their fortunes thanks to poorly compensating laborers who keep their enterprises running. The billionaires would still be billionaires if they paid these workers wages living wages, but they choose to pad their own bank accounts instead.

Pretty much any analyst of global wealth will tell you that it’s nearly impossible to get a completely accurate picture since the richest individuals often don’t publicly reveal their net worth and the poorest nations don’t have great financial records either. Nevertheless, even if some of Oxfam’s numbers are a little off, there’s no denying the larger trend of inequality.

The report also features some much-needed suggestions to reverse the current wealth gap trends. Among their best ideas:

  • Tax the wealthiest at a higher rate and eliminate loopholes that allow them to dodge paying their taxes
  • Limit the amount of money executives and shareholders can earn
  • Guarantee all workers a living wage
  • Protect the rights of working women

The current trajectory is clear – allowing the current capitalist rules to stand will only further allow the 1 percent to amass more wealth and the expense of the billions of others they share the planet (but not their money) with. It’s time to stand up and demand justice – and a better economic system to accompany it.

90 comments

DAVID fleming
Dave fleming6 months ago

NOTED

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Jack Y
Jack Y6 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y6 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J6 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J6 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John B
John B7 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R7 months ago

well said, Marija M

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Annie S
christine s8 months ago

Adverts on tv asking the people to give to the poor,when not only the rich but the actors who actually ask us to fork out --could save the world with what falls out of their back pocket.

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Teresa W
Teresa W8 months ago

outrageous

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Stephanie s
Stephanie Y8 months ago

Revolting.

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