The world’s billionaires are richer than 60 per cent of the global population, a report for charity Oxfam has claimed.
The wealthiest 2,153 people have more money than the poorest 4.6billion, researchers said, while the 22 richest men have more than all the women in Africa.
Their vast wealth comes largely at the expense of women and girls who contribute some 12.5billion hours of care work each day without being paid, the report adds.
Oxfam estimates this work contributes $10.8 trillion per year to the world economy – more than the entire technology sector – but goes largely unpaid or underpaid.
‘Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of ordinary men and women,’ Oxfam’s India head Amitabh Behar said
‘No wonder people are starting to question whether billionaires should even exist.’
Oxfam’s annual report on global inequality – the year entitled ‘Time to Care’ – was released just before World Economic Forum in Davos this week.
Behar will represent Oxfam at the conference, where he will present his report.
‘The gap between rich and poor can’t be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies,’ he said.
To highlight the level of inequality in the global economy, Behar cited the case of a woman called Buchu Devi in India.
Buchu spends 16 to 17 hours a day doing work like fetching water, cooking, preparing her children for school and working in a poorly paid job, he said.
‘And on the one hand you see the billionaires who are all assembling at Davos with their personal planes, personal jets, super rich lifestyles,’ he said.
‘This Buchu Devi is not one person. I in India encounter these women on a daily basis, and this is the story across the world. We need to change this, and certainly end this billionaire boom.’ (AFP and Reuters)