According to Oxfam a billionaire was created every two days in 2017 which means that a mere 42 individuals own as much wealth as the world’s poorest 3.7 billion people. None of the 82% of the world’s wealth went to poor.

Oxfam’s latest report on global inequality, titled Reward Work, Not Wealth, released Monday, 22 January, paints an alarming picture of the state of the world. The report outlines how the already rich minority keep getting richer while wages have stagnated and poverty is still rife among the lowest earning economic sectors of society.

Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam’s executive director of Oxfam International says that the billionaire boom is actually a sign of a failing economy. “The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors,” she says.

Here are the top six findings from the report:

1. Billionaire wealth has risen by 13% since 2010

This increase is six times faster than ordinary workers’ wages, which has risen by 2% annually. Between March 2016 and 2017, there was an unprecedented growth rate of billionaires. The study says a billionaire was created every two days.

2. Top earners make a factory worker’s lifetime earnings in four days

The report states that it takes four days for the CEO from one of the top five global fashion brands to earn what a Bangladeshi garment worker will earn in her lifetime.

3. It would cost $2.2 billion to increase wages of 2.5 million Vietnamese garment workers.

These Vietnamese garment workers currently don’t earn a living wage and it would take $2.2 billion to make sure they do. Shareholders of the top 5 companies in the garment sector earned a third of this amount in 2016 alone.

4. There’s a gender gap at play as well

The report found that poor pay and bad working conditions make it possible for the super-rich to get richer. It also found that women suffer the most in these conditions and that the super-rich are mostly men.

5. The total wealth of the top 1% is $762 billion

This amount is enough to end poverty worldwide seven times over.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB chief executive, told the Guardian that this is a system that is failing the millions of hardworking people on poverty wages who make our clothes and grow our food.

“For work to be a genuine route out of poverty we need to ensure that ordinary workers receive a living wage and can insist on decent conditions, and that women are not discriminated against,” he added. “If that means less for the already wealthy then that is a price that we – and they – should be willing to pay,” he said.

Policy solutions to end inequality are outline in the report as follows:

  • Limit returns of shareholders and top executives and make sure workers earn a living wage that enables them to have quality of life.
  • Eliminate the gender pay gap and protect the rights of women workers and pay them the same salaries as men. The report found it would take 217 years to close the gap between men and women.
  • Ensure that the wealthy pay their fair share of tax through higher taxes and a crackdown on tax avoidance.
  • Increase spending on public services such as healthcare and education. Oxfam estimates a global tax of 1.5 percent on billionaires’ wealth could pay for every child to go to school.

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