Inequality is "out of control", warned Oxfam in Davos


"Extreme inequality is out of control" in the world, warned since Davos was the director of the NGO Oxfam, which calculated that 26 people now had as much as 3.8 billion of the planet's poorest money.

"We see the richest people who are seizing wealth and the disadvantaged who are immersed in poverty," said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, in an interview with AFP on the sidelines of the World Davos Economic Forum.

Traditionally, Oxfam has published its annual Inequality Report as a disclosure for debate and business meetings this week, bringing together the world's economic and political elites in a top-class Swiss ski resort.

According to figures from NGOs, the methodology, which relies on data published by Forbes magazine and Credit Suisse bank, debated by some economists, 26 people now have as much as 3, 8 billion of the poorest people on the planet. In 2017, there were 43 of them.

Three of them are on the list of about 3,000 participants at Davos this year: Bill Gates America, Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani and founder of Chinese giant Alibaba, Jack Ma.

In general, the world's billionaire wealth increased by $ 900 billion last year, at a rate of $ 2.5 billion per day, while half of the world's poorest population fell 11%, he said.

The number of billionaires has doubled since the 2008 financial crisis, Oxfam said.

"I am here in Davos, where political and economic leaders meet, to warn them that inequality is undermining democracy," Byanyima said.

"Citizens are angry (…) because the economy won't be strong if you don't have people in good health and trained, without the rule of law, without good infrastructure, good communication. All of this is financed by taxes, which is not there because rich people don't pay a fair share, "he said.

Oxfam has calculated that on one dollar income tax, only four cents comes from taxation of wealth.

According to the NGO, "the poorest 10% now pay higher taxes in proportion to their income than the richest".

This report was published when the biggest wealth taxation sparked debate in several countries.

In France, the "yellow vest" movement has revived the debate about the elimination of taxes on wealth by Emmanuel Macron. In the United States, the newly elected Democratic Party MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed taxing 70% of the richest people, with the support of Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman.

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