Oxfam released report titled An Economy for the 1%

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Who: Report titled An Economy for the 1%
What: Released by Oxfam
When: 18 January 2016

Oxfam on 18 January 2016 released a report titled An Economy for the 1%. The report analysed growing trends of concentration of wealth across the world and suggested remedies to correct the anomaly.

Further, the report was named as such by taking a cue from the report of Credit Suisse, a global financial services company, which revealed that the richest 1 percent had accumulated more wealth than the rest of the world put together.

Highlights of the report

• In 2015, just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people – the bottom half of humanity. This figure is down from 388 individuals as recently as 2010.
• The wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 44 percent in the five years since 2010 – that’s an increase of more than half a trillion dollars (542 billion US dollars) to 1.76 trillion US dollars.
• The wealth of the bottom half fell by just over a trillion dollars in the same period (2010-15) – a drop of 41 percent.
• Since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1 percent of the total increase in global wealth, while half of that increase has gone to the top 1 percent.
• The average annual income of the poorest 10 percent of people in the world has risen by less than 3 dollars each year in almost a quarter of a century. Their daily income has risen by less than a single cent every year.

To address the issue of growing inequalities, the report suggested following measures

Pay workers a living wage and close the gap with executive rewards – It can be achieved by increasing minimum wages towards living wages; with transparency on pay ratios; and protecting workers’ rights to unionize and strike.

Promote women’s economic equality and women’s rights – It can be achieved by providing compensation for unpaid care; ending the gender pay gap; promoting equal inheritance and land rights for women; and improving data collection to assess how women and girls are affected by economic policy.

Keep the influence of powerful elites in check – It can be achieved by building mandatory public lobby registries and stronger rules on conflict of interest; ensuring that good-quality information on administrative and budget processes is made public and is free and easily accessible.

And, by reforming the regulatory environment particularly around transparency in government; separating business from campaign financing; and introducing measures to close revolving doors between big business and government.

Change the global system for R&D and the pricing of medicines so that everyone has access to appropriate and affordable medicines–  It can be achieved by negotiating a new global R&D treaty; increasing investment in medicines including in affordable generics;

Share the tax burden fairly to level the playing field – It can be achieved by shifting the tax burden away from labour and consumption and towards wealth, capital and income from these assets; increasing transparency on tax incentives; and introducing national wealth taxes.

Use progressive public spending to tackle inequality – It can be achieved by prioritizing policies, practice and spending that increase financing for free public health and education to fight poverty and inequality at a national level.

And, by refraining from implementing unproven and unworkable market reforms to public health and education systems, and expand public sector rather than private sector delivery of essential services.

About Oxfam

• Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations working together with partners and local communities in more than 90 countries.
• The name Oxfam comes from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, founded in Britain in 1942.
• Oxfam International was formed in 1995 by a group of independent non-governmental organizations. Their aim was to work together for greater impact on the international stage to reduce poverty and injustice.