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.
• 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.