News Release

Davos: Richest 1% Got 82% of Wealth Last Year

Oxfam just released a report on global inequality, saying: “Eighty two percent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest one percent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth, according to a new Oxfam report released today. The report is being released as political and business elites, including President Trump, are heading to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.

“Oxfam’s report, ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth,’ reveals how the global economy enables the wealthy elite to capture vast wealth while hundreds of millions of people struggle to survive on poverty pay. This includes the stunning new finding that the economy created a new billionaire every other day over a period of one year.

“‘There’s a billionaire boom but most people are treading water in a stagnant global economy,’ said Paul O’Brien, Oxfam America’s vice president for policy and campaigns. ‘A perfect storm is driving up the bargaining power of those at the top while driving down the bargaining power of those at the bottom. If such inequality remains unaddressed, it will trap people in poverty and further fracture our society.’

“Oxfam’s report outlines the key factors driving up rewards for inherited wealth, shareholders and corporate executives at the expense of workers’ pay and conditions. These include the erosion of workers’ rights, the excessive influence of big business and wealthy interests over government policy-making, and the relentless corporate drive to minimize costs in order to maximize returns to shareholders.

“While President Trump was elected on the promise to fix the rigged political and economic system, the tax bill he championed and signed into law just weeks ago will only further rig the rules in favor of the rich and powerful and deepen the inequality crisis. Corporations will get massive tax cuts and wealthy heirs will get more untaxed inheritance. In Davos, President Trump will do a victory lap with the primary beneficiaries of his policy agenda, which has largely focused on boosting the incomes of the extremely wealthy while doing grave damage to the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.”

LAURA RUSU, laura.rusu at oxfam.org, @Oxfam
Rusu is policy and campaigns media manager for the international humanitarian organization Oxfam America.