Income inequality soars in South Africa and worldwide
Jan. 16, 2017 (GIN) – Global inequality has grown to unacceptable proportions, a new study has found, as just eight men now own the same wealth as half of the world.
According to the international advocacy group Oxfam, 62 billionaires own the same wealth as the poorest half of the planet – particularly in India and China. In South Africa, three billionaires emerged as owners of the same wealth as the bottom 50 percent of the population. The startling figures are found in Oxfam’s latest report titled “An Econ- omy for the 99 Percent” released this week in Johannesburg. The report is timed to coincide with the 47th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland whose theme is “Responsive and Responsible Leadership.”
The Oxfam report shows how big busi- ness and the super-rich are fueling the in- equality crisis by dodging taxes, driving down wages and using their power to in- fluence politics.
“Inequality is greater today than at the end of apartheid”, said an Oxfam spokesperson.
“Why we are concerned about inequality is not because we have a problem with the rich. Our concern is that in countries where there is great inequality it’s harder to fight poverty,” said Lauren Ravon, director of policy and campaigns for Oxfam Canada.
“The super-rich [are] avoiding taxes … putting pressure on wages and also just corrupting the rules of the game, in the sense that they have influence over decision-making, and so the rules are written in favor of the wealthy few and not the majority of the population,” she said. Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, added: “Billions of us take what we can of what’s left of the cake – and it’s getting smaller.”
“For all her abundant natural resources and wealth, Africa sees so much of this wealth leave our borders and shores, never to reach our brothers and sisters. “Inequality threatens the hard-fought progress our continent has made,” Byanyima said. “However, as a true African I remain incurably hopeful for our future.
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