Super-rich could end poverty 'four times over'

The annual incomes of the world's 100 richest people could end global poverty four times over, according to a report from Oxfam. The report was published as world leaders prepared to meet at the annual economic summit in Davos, Switzerland.

Key points

  • In 2012 the world's richest 100 billionaires enjoyed a net income of £150 billion. The richest one per cent have increased their income by 60 per cent in the last 20 years, with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process.
  • Extreme wealth is economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive. It depresses economic activity and makes life harder for everyone else – particularly those at the bottom of the economic ladder. Members of the richest one per cent are estimated to use as much as 10,000 times more carbon than even the average US citizen.
  • A global 'New Deal' is needed to reverse decades of increasing inequality. As a first step world leaders should formally commit themselves to reducing inequality to the levels seen in 1990.
  • Closing tax havens could yield an additional £118 billion in additional tax revenues. The trend toward more regressive forms of taxation should be reversed. A global minimum corporation tax rate should be introduced. Measures should be taken to boost wages compared with returns available to capital. And there should be increased investment in free public services and safety nets.

Source: The Cost of Inequality: How Wealth and Income Extremes Hurt Us All, Oxfam GB
LinksReport | Oxfam press release | TUC press release | BBC report | Guardian report

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