To mark the beginning of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the development charity Oxfam released its annual wealth check report. It states that 2018 was a year in which the income gap widened to record heights in modern history. In fact, the 26 most wealthy billionaires now own as many assets as the lowest 50% of the world’s population, some 3.8 billion people.
According to Oxfam, the wealth of the “Top 26 Billionaires” increased in 2018 by $900 billion, or $2.5 billion per day. In 2016, the number of the world’s richest billionaires needed to eclipse half of the world’s population was 61. It was 43 in 2017.
Oxfam does have a solution. The charity’s suggestions in the report include a wealth tax of 1% that would “educate every child not in school and provide healthcare that would prevent 3 million deaths.”
Oxfam is not a Robin Hood organization with a desire to rob the rich and give to the poor. They share some of the same concerns as conservatives and libertarians who also have a desire to earn wealth, but on an equal playing field and while ensuring that public services for the poor are of the same quality as public services for the rich.
Matthew Spencer, the director of campaigns and policies for Oxfam, said: “Women are dying for lack of decent maternity care and children are being denied an education that could be their route out of poverty. No one should be condemned to an earlier grave or a life of illiteracy simply because they were born poor. … It doesn’t have to be this way—there is enough wealth in the world to provide everyone with a fair chance in life. Governments should act to ensure that taxes raised from wealth and businesses paying their fair share are used to fund free, good-quality public services that can save and transform people’s lives.”
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