How poor are the poorest 1

26 billionaires own as much as the poorest 50 percent of the population

Nothing changed in 2018: Social inequality continues to increase - the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is the conclusion reached by the charity Oxfam in its recently published inequality report “Public Good or Private Wealth”.

The world's 26 richest people own as much as the poorest 50 percent (about 3.8 billion people worldwide) of the population, according to the report, which examines the world's rich and poor gap year after year.

"Our economy is in ruins, millions of people live in extreme poverty while the richest in the world increase their wealth."

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos managed to double his fortune last year. With a wealth of US $ 150 billion, he is the richest person in the world today. Unfortunately, others did not fare so well. On the contrary: within the same year, the poorest of the poor became 11 percent poorer.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos watches a video presentation during an event in Seattle.
Image: Ted S. Warren / AP

Oxfam published its report shortly before the start of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, which brings together politicians, scientists, economists and journalists from around the world to discuss current global issues.

In the report, the organization calls on governments to act and offers specific economic and political solutions that could help fight global poverty - including increased investment in education, health, gender equality and social protection.

"How much money you have in your bank account shouldn't determine how long children stay in school or how long they live," said Oxfam boss Winnie Byanyima in a press release.

"While corporations and the wealthy enjoy low taxation, millions of girls are denied a decent education and women die from inadequate maternity care," she added.

Greater and more effective taxation of the wealthiest 1 percent of the world's population is needed, according to the report. A small increase of just 0.5 percent would raise enough money to educate 262 million children who are currently out of school. Or to provide life-saving health care to 3.3 million people in need.

Oxfam's figures for the richest people in the world are based on the billionaires list published by Forbes magazine, and the calculations for the poorer half of the population are based on the Global Wealth Report by the Swiss bank Credit Suisse. The organization is criticized for its evaluation every year, reports the business portal Quartz, especially for the evaluation of the poor. Because according to the Global Wealth Report, people who have high debts are also considered poor.

However, this does not change the fact that social inequality continues to rise, argued the organization on its blog. As long as heads of state and government do not come together and fight poverty and inequality at their source, the gap between rich and poor will continue to widen.