Just how wealthy are the world’s richest people?
Obscenely rich, if a new report by Oxfam, an international confederation of charitable organisations, is to be believed. Oxfam, in its report ‘An economy for the 99 percent,’ says that eight of the world’s richest men control as much as half the global wealth.
These eight are Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has a net worth of $75 billion; Amancio Ortega, founder of Inditex, which owns the Zara fashion chain, with $67 billion; Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett ($60.8 billion); Grupo Carso owner Carlos Slim Helu ($50 billion); Amazon founder and chairman Jeff Bezos ($45.2 billion); Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg ($44.6 billion); Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison ($43.6 billion); and Bloomberg LP founder Michael Bloomberg.
Oxfam’s report indicates that inequality in wealth distribution has increased significantly since last year when it had said that 62 of the world’s richest people own half its wealth. The calculations are based on wealth distribution data provided by the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Data book 2016.
The wealth of the world’s richest people was calculated using Forbes’ billionaires list published in March 2016, the agency said.
“It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day. Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy.”
Oxfam said that the report outlines “how the super-rich use a network of tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of tax and an army of wealth managers to secure returns on their investments that would not be available to ordinary savers.”
“Contrary to popular belief, many of the super-rich are not ‘self-made’. Oxfam analysis shows over half the world’s billionaires either inherited their wealth or accumulated it through industries which are prone to corruption and cronyism,” the agency said in a statement.
Just last year, leaked documents on offshore accounts showed how Panama was being used as a tax haven by a law firm to help the rich escape taxation.
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