Archive for the tag “Oxfam”

Oxfam Report: 10 Million at Risk of Hunger Due to Climate Change and El Niño

Common Dreams

At least ten million of the poorest people face food insecurity in 2015 and 2016 due to extreme weather conditions and the onset of El Niño, Oxfam has reported.

In Oxfam’s new report called Entering Uncharted Waters, erratic weather patterns were noted including high temperatures and droughts, disrupting farming seasons around the world.

Countries are already facing a “major emergency,” said Oxfam, including Ethiopia where 4.5 million people are in need of food assistance due to a drought this year. Read more…

Oxfam Report: Richest 1% will own more than all the rest by 2016

From Oxfam International 

The combined wealth of the richest 1 percent will overtake that of the other 99 percent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked, Oxfam International has warned.

Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More, a research paper published today by Oxfam, shows that the richest 1 percent have seen their share of global wealth increase from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2014 and at this rate will be more than 50 percent in 2016. Members of this global elite had an average wealth of $2.7 million per adult in 2014.

Of the remaining 52 percent of global wealth, almost all (46 percent) is owned by the rest of the richest fifth of the world’s population. The other 80 percent share just 5.5 percent and had an average wealth of $3,851 per adult – that’s 1/700th of the average wealth of the 1 percent.

Staggering inequality

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said: “Do we really want to live in a world where the one percent own more than the rest of us combined? The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.

“In the past 12 months we have seen world leaders from President Obama to Christine Lagarde talk more about tackling extreme inequality but we are still waiting for many of them to walk the walk. It is time our leaders took on the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world.

“Business as usual for the elite isn’t a cost free option – failure to tackle inequality will set the fight against poverty back decades. The poor are hurt twice by rising inequality – they get a smaller share of the economic pie and because extreme inequality hurts growth, there is less pie to be shared around.”

Oxfam made headlines at Davos last year with the revelation that the 85 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent (3.5 billion people). That figure is now 80 – a dramatic fall from 388 people in 2010. The wealth of the richest 80 doubled in cash terms between 2009-14.

The international agency is calling on government to adopt a seven point plan to tackle inequality:

  1. Clamp down on tax dodging by corporations and rich individuals
  2. Invest in universal, free public services such as health and education
  3. Share the tax burden fairly, shifting taxation from labour and consumption towards    capital and wealth
  4. Introduce minimum wages and move towards a living wage for all workers
  5. Introduce equal pay legislation and promote economic policies to give women a fair deal
  6. Ensure adequate safety-nets for the poorest, including a minimum income guarantee
  7. Agree a global goal to tackle inequality.

The research paper, which follows the October launch of Oxfam’s global Even It Up campaign, shines a light on the way extreme wealth is passed down the generations and how elite groups mobilise their vast resources to ensure global rules are favourable towards their interests. More than a third of the 1645 billionaires listed by Forbes inherited some or all of their riches.

Twenty percent of billionaires have interests in the financial and insurance sectors, a group which saw their cash wealth increase by 11 percent in the 12 months to March 2014. These sectors spent $550 million lobbying policy makers in Washington and Brussels during 2013. During the 2012 US election cycle alone, the financial sector provided $571 million in campaign contributions.

Billionaires listed as having interests in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors saw their collective net worth increase by 47 percent. During 2013, they spent more than $500 million lobbying policy makers in Washington and Brussels.

Oxfam is concerned that the lobbying power of these sectors is a major barrier in the way of reforming the global tax system and of ensuring intellectual property rules do not lead to the world’s poorest being denied life saving medicines.

There is increasing evidence from the International Monetary Fund, among others, that extreme inequality is not just bad news for those at the bottom but also damages economic growth.

Download Oxfams new report: Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More

Oxfam Report on Extreme Inequality


*In 2014 the richest 85 people on the planet owned as much as the poorest half of humanity.
*The net worth of India’s billionaires is enough to eliminate absolute poverty in the country twice over.
*A few Indians have enough money for several lifetimes while millions struggle for 1 sq meal/day

Even It Up: Its Time To End Extreme Inequality
Click here to download the report

Today, global outrage against this has become raucous—the Occupy movements, Arab Spring, street protests by millions of Brazilians demanding increased spending on basic entitlements reflect the anger. This narrative of obscene inequality based on injustice and denial of basic rights calls for urgent action if we want to live socially-just, inclusive and equal world.

Since the global financial crisis the number of billionaires has doubled. A tax, of just 1.5 percent, on their wealth in that period could have raised enough money to save 23 million lives in the poorest countries.

Oxfam’s latest research has found that if India stopped inequality from rising, they could lift 90 million more people out of extreme poverty by 2019.

Inequality is not inevitable; it is the result of deliberate political and economic choices. Market fundamentalism and the capture of power by elites are two powerful drivers of inequality that go a long way to explaining the extremes we see today.

Recent mass demonstrations from Chile and Brazil to Iceland and Hungary have shown that people around the world are unwilling to stand for unfair tax systems and a lack of quality services. People are concerned that their governments are acting not in their interests, but on behalf of national and international elites. Governments must be forced to listen to the people not the plutocrats. This is why Oxfam is joining a growing movement campaigning for an end to extreme inequality, and asking decision-makers everywhere what they will do to make this a reality.

Unequal numbers

  • The top 1% globally controls 46% of the world’s wealth.

  • Seven out of 10 people live in countries where the gap between rich and poor is greater than it was 30 years ago.

  • The richest 85 people on the planet own as much as the poorest half of humanity.

  • These 85 people grew $688m richer each day in 2013-14.

Did you know?

  • In India, billionaires increased from two in the 1990s to 65 in 2014.

  • Net worth of India’s billionaires is enough to eliminate absolute poverty in the country, twice over.

  • More than half of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India is channelled through tax havens.

  • The Indian government spends almost twice as much on its military as on health.

  • Money that can be invested to tackle inequality is diverted by tax breaks & public-private partnerships.

  • If India stops inequality from rising, it can end extreme poverty for 90 million people in just five years.

The India solution

  • If India stops its rising inequality, we can rescue 90 million people from extreme poverty by 2019.

  • Reducing inequality by 36 percent reduction can eliminate extreme poverty and save another 83 million people.

What our government can do

  • Prioritise policies that redistribute money and power.

  • Reject market fundamentalism and oppose the special interests of powerful elite.

  • Provide living wages and decent working conditions.

  • Protect the rights of workers and give them a say in decision-making.

  • Ensure fair taxation, so those most able to pay contribute more.

  • Provide free public services such as health and education to help tackle inequality.

  • Universal child benefits, old-age pensions, unemployment protection etc have an equalising effect.

  • Economic policies must tackle economic and gender inequality together.

    To read more and to download the report, click here.

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