Jan 16: World’s eight richest billionaires have as much health as the world’s 3.6 billion people who make the poorest half of the global population, reported Oxfam.
These world eight richest individuals, picked from Forbes’ billionaires list, include six American :Microsoft founder Bill Gates; Warren Buffet, largest shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway; Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive of facebook; Larry Ellison, co-founder and chief executive of Oracle; Michael Bloomberg, owner of Bloomberg LP; One Spanish: founder of Zara owner Inditex, Amancio Ortega, and a Mexican: Carlos Slim Helu, owner of Group Carso.
Oxfam, an international confederation of 18 NGOs working with partners in over 90 countries to the injustices that cause poverty, last year said the world’s 62 richest billionaires were as wealthy as half the world’s population. However, the number has dropped to eight in 2017 because new information shows that poverty in China and India is worse than previously thought, making the bottom 50% even worse off and widening the gap between rich and poor.
In a report published to coincide with the start of the week-long World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Oxfam said it was “beyond grotesque” that a handful of rich men headed by the Microsoft founder Bill Gates are worth $426bn (£350bn), equivalent to the wealth of 3.6 billion people.
The Oxfam report added that since 2015 the richest 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet. It said that over the next 20 years, 500 people will hand over $2.1tn to their heirs – a sum larger than the annual GDP of India, a country with 1.3 billion people. Between 1988 and 2011 the incomes of the poorest 10% increased by just $65, while the incomes of the richest 1% grew by $11,800 – 182 times as much.
Oxfam called for fundamental change to ensure that economies worked for everyone, not just “a privileged few”.