Last year Oxfam made headlines with its ‘killer statistic’ that 85 people owned as much as wealth as half the world’s population. Their latest inequality report, which is out today, updates that figure and shows the trends in shares of the world’s wealth.
Today, the richest 1% own 48% of the world’s wealth. If their wealth continues to grow as fast as it has in the last half decade, they will own the whole half by 2016.
Whether you think this is a problem in itself is a matter of debate, but it certainly has consequences. Oxfam argue that this wealth is mainly being created in specific sectors, particularly banking and insurance, and that these fortunes give those sectors undue political influence. That huge lobbying power can be used to fend off taxation and regulation, and ensure that the status quo continues.