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Richest 1% owns almost half world's wealth as inequality gap widens

Anti-poverty charity Oxfam says the wealthiest people in the world are on course to hold half global wealth by 2016, in report published ahead of gathering of world leaders and influencers at this week at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is held in Davos, Switzerland on January 24, 2014Mehmet Kaman/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Bloomberg –The richest 1 percent of people in the world will have a majority of the wealth on the planet next year, according to development nonprofit Oxfam America Inc.

The most affluent’s share of global wealth climbed to 48 percent in 2014, compared with 44 percent in 2009, and will likely eclipse 50 percent in 2016, according to a new issue brief the group released ahead of the World Economic Forum meeting this week in Davos, Switzerland.

“The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering,” Winnie Byanyima, a co-chairwoman of the events in Davos and Oxfam’s executive director, said in a statement. “Despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.”

The Oxfam study uses data from Credit Suisse’s global wealth report and the Forbes billionaires list.

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One-fifth of global billionaires “have interests in the financial and insurance sectors” and saw their cash wealth climb 11 percent in the past year, the Oxfam brief states. Pharmaceutical and health-care billionaires saw a 47 percent bump in collective worth.

“Oxfam is concerned that the lobbying power of these sectors is a major barrier in the way of reforming the global tax system,” the release states. The group proposes a crackdown on corporate and individual tax dodging, more investment in free public services, and a shift in taxes toward capital and wealth to help fix the problem.

 
 
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