PARIS — The richest 1 percent of the world’s population now own more than the rest of us combined, aid group Oxfam said Monday, on the eve of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. “Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population — a figure that has fallen from 388 just five years ago,” the anti-poverty agency said in its reported published ahead of the annual gathering of the world’s financial and political elites in Davos. The report, entitled An Economy for the 1%, states that women are disproportionately affected by the global inequality.
“One of the other key trends behind rising inequality set out in Oxfam International’s report is the falling share of national income going to workers in almost all developed and most developing countries … the majority of low paid workers around the world are women.” Although world leaders have increasingly talked about the need to tackle inequality “the gap between the richest and the rest has widened dramatically in the past 12 months,” Oxfam said. Oxfam’s prediction, made ahead of last year’s Davos meeting, that the richest 1 percent would soon own more than the rest of us, “actually came true in 2015,” it added. While the number of people living in extreme poverty halved between 1990 and 2010, the average annual income of the poorest 10 percent has risen by less than US$3 per year in the past quarter of a century, a increase in individuals’ income of less than one cent a year, the report said. ‘Few dozen super-rich people’ More than 40 heads of state and government will attend the Davos forum which begins late Tuesday and will end on Jan. 23. Those heading to the Swiss resort town for the high-level annual gathering also include 2,500 “leaders from business and society,” the WEF said in an earlier statement.
Describing the theme — the Fourth Industrial Revolution — WEF founder Klaus Shwab has said it “refers to the fusion of technologies across the physical, digital and biological worlds that is creating entirely new capabilities and dramatic impacts on political, social and economic systems.”