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Study: 62 people own as much wealth as half the world’s population

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Oxfam International, the anti-poverty nonprofit based in the U.K., released a report on Monday saying that the 62 richest people in the world own the same amount of wealth as the the bottom half of the global population.

The report says that the number of wealthy people who claim half of the world’s wealth has gone down from 80 just a year ago, and from 388 in 2010.

{mosads}Over that same amount of time, the top 62 saw their fortunes increase by half a trillion dollars, while the bottom 50 percent — 3.6 billion people — lost an estimated $1 trillion.

The report was released the same week as the World Economic Forum, an annual summit of financial and business elites in Davos, Switzerland, in order to call attention to global inequality.

Wealth inequality has risen in prominence as a political issue in Western countries, especially the United States where Democratic presdential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has made it the focus of his campaign. 

But the group has called on world leaders to do more to address what they see as a global crisis, and laid out several policy proposals.

“World leaders’ concern about the escalating inequality crisis has so far not translated into concrete action to ensure that those at the bottom get their fair share of economic growth,” Oxfam CEO Mark Goldring said in a statement.

“In a world where one in nine people go to bed hungry every night we cannot afford to carry on giving the richest an ever bigger slice of the cake.”

He also called on politicians to “to end the era of tax havens which has allowed rich individuals and multinational companies to avoid their responsibilities to society by hiding ever increasing amounts of money offshore.”

An estimated $7.6 trillion in wealth owned by the world’s richest people is held in such offshore tax havens, resulting in annual loss of $190 billion in tax revenue to countries.

The report called for governments to crack down on tax dodging and to invest more in public services available to the poor.

“Ending extreme poverty requires world leaders to tackle the growing gap between the richest and the rest which has trapped hundreds of millions of people in a life of poverty, hunger and sickness,” Goldring added. 

“It is no longer good enough for the richest to pretend that their wealth benefits the rest of us when the facts show that the recent explosion in the wealth of the super-rich has come at the expense of the poorest.”

Tags Bernie Sanders Economic inequality income inequality Oxfam

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