The explosion in extreme wealth hurts us all

An explosion in extreme wealth and income is exacerbating inequality and hindering the world’s ability to tackle poverty, Oxfam — a British humanitarian organization — has warned in a briefing published ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.

News of the report has been posted on the Internet at, and may be found here.

The $240 billion net income in 2012 of the richest 100 billionaires would be enough to make extreme poverty history four times over, according Oxfam’s report, titled: ‘The cost of inequality: how wealth and income extremes hurt us all.’ It is calling on world leaders to curb today’s income extremes and commit to reducing inequality to at least 1990 levels.

“The richest one per cent has increased its income by 60 per cent in the last 20 years with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process,” the posting on the Oxfam website said.

Oxfam warned that extreme wealth and income is not only unethical, it is also economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive.

In the Oxfam website article Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director, Oxfam International, said: “We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true.

“Concentration of resources in the hands of the top one per cent depresses economic activity and makes life harder for everyone else – particularly those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

“In a world where even basic resources such as land and water are increasingly scarce, we cannot afford to concentrate assets in the hands of a few and leave the many to struggle over what’s left.”

Members of the richest one per cent are estimated to use as much as 10,000 times more carbon than the average US citizen.

Oxfam International is a confederation of 17 organizations working together to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. Its Internet posting said that world leaders should learn from the present-day success of countries such as Brazil, which has grown rapidly while reducing inequality – as well as the historical success such as the United States in the 1930s, when President Roosevelt’s New Deal helped bring down inequality and tackle vested interests.

“Roosevelt famously warned that the ‘political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality’,” the Oxfam website report said.

New global deal needed

Mr. Hobbs added: “We need a global new deal to reverse decades of increasing inequality. As a first step world leaders should formally commit themselves to reducing inequality to the levels seen in 1990.

“From tax havens to weak employment laws, the richest benefit from a global economic system which is rigged in their favour. It is time our leaders reformed the system so that it works in the interests of the whole of humanity rather than a global elite.”

What can be done? The Oxfam website article said that “closing tax havens – which hold as much as $32 trillion or a third of all global wealth – could yield an additional $189bn in additional tax revenues.” In addition to a tax haven crackdown, the article said, elements of a global new deal could include:

  • a reversal of the trend towards more regressive forms of taxation;
  • a global minimum corporation tax rate;
  • measures to boost wages compared with returns available to capital;
  • increased investment in free public services and safety nets.
Please Note: The mission of The Global Conversation website is to generate an ongoing sharing of thoughts, ideas, and opinions at this internet location in an interchange that we hope will produce an ongoing and expanding conversation ultimately generating wider benefit for our world. For this reason, links that draw people away from this site will be removed from our Comments Section, a process which may delay publication of your post. If you wish to include in your Comment the point of view of someone other than yourself, please feel free to report those views in full (and even reprint them) here.
Click here to acknowledge and remove this note:
  • Adam C Lambert

    So in other words: Global Communism… Not a good idea.

    • NealeDonaldWalsch

      Right. Global starvation is better. What’s the matter with US???

  • Carina Aduddell

    I love the ideas laid out here. There are so many people who die every day..simply because they don’t have food or clean water. You would think the top 1 percent would want to help more..but apparently it is up to the rest of us to do all that we can to share what we have..something is better than nothing. And hopefully soon we will figure out a solution and get those who have more money more involved.

    • Michael L

      As long as we don’t take(not giving) from anyone we are going to change.

  • Erin

    It is the majority that feeds the few…WE give them their pedestals, rather than Our educated voices. WE give them their powers over Us through bowed compliance, WE consume of their offerings without much thought. WE have done & are doing this to Ourselves! We are producing Their version of Good Life rather than creating one that embraces All.

    And the basis of all the stats & scrambles? Money…papers & metals stamped out in patriotic designs…Rocks & fibers transformed into the Almighty bucks of Human contrivance for Fair Trade vs. bartering. Substances that were once backed by what We deemed ‘Precious’…God, gold, & silver…but this is no longer true.

    Perhaps, if We looked at money ‘This way’…that it no longer represents Fort Knox stashes it was once based upon…Rather, it now is representative of something the ‘elite’ do not even use…Their wealths are in fudged accounting books & assets that shelter them from taxing…Their ‘marks’ are on ‘special’ plastic cards. We are allowed to earn the former materials to purchase goods from them…It is the epitome of “Let them eat cake”.

    “And history hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” (DoI, 1776)
    Obviously, We are still doing this…suffering because it’s ‘easier’ to deal with what we know we have to deal with, rather than throw the whole shebang into the ‘Fail’ pile & move other-‘wise’. Heck, many cannot move away from abusive one-on-ones for this reasoning, let alone gather to move a community or nation. We Peeps are so funny.

    However! The very next line of this ingenius document reads:
    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariable the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, (IT IS THEIR RIGHT, IT IS THEIR DUTY), to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” This follows quite the list of Facts that, as well, seem to be in repeat mode.

    It is difficult to imagine any specie owning ‘rights’ & deeds to pieces of Earth & Sky…What a notion of non-sense! It is similarly difficult to imagine continuance with the taxing concept…It has not Ever worked well…at least not for the majority. Yet, prior to April 15th of every single year of Life here, the panic of The People begins, & IRS goes into military mode. And what would occur if every one simply joined a BBQ that day & sent nothing? Hmmm…???

    Freedom is a great responsibility…Immense Personal Responsibility!!! Good idea to get a grip on that. We, as a People, have been verrry lax in our & Our duties of such regard. Give Freedom with generosity…Use it with Wisdom. What We give, always makes a return round. Lest We forget to include the present elite in Our doings…We made them, We must care for them. (and you thought it the other way around? hehe)

    Just a rant of thoughts…Thanks & Blessings. 🙂

    • Michael L

      Nicely said Erin,
      We are believing we create our own world, well your right, take a good look and see the results. No blame here, just love it all. As love can only respond back in a loving way eventually.

  • Glen Minges

    So, the corporations run the governments who run the countries where everybody lives. The governments control all of the money. No wait, the banks control the money they only let governments regulate the money, so corporations can seize control of all of the goods and services, so they can use the money from the banks to control the governments who regulate what they can do, wait… while they play their shell game of whose got the power, we have little choice but to play the game as well, and fall victim to their control. They have taken every thing free away, and have forced us to be grateful when we do have a job, because now we can pay them what they demand that we pay and play according to their rules. If we work hard, we should succeed, until the next recession, and it all goes away again. I feel like I am in a Charles Dickens novel. Great Expectations?

    • Stephen mills

      I agree with you Glen Minges and thanks for being here .But ! I have a solution have you read Tomorrow,s God by Neale Donald Walsch look up chapter 20 Throwing out the money changers – again .

      The more I read this chapter and I have read it until I know just about every word in it ? I SEE the solution,s and another way of life working for the highest good of all .It,s there and it just makes sense to my core being and at the soul level .

      I have searched for truth all my life and I can feel it in every cell of my body that what I have read here is an answer to end our nightmare existence on our precious beautiful small planet .

      I love Charles Dickens, his messages and stories enlighten us to become grander versions of ourselves .