5 Shocking Facts about Extreme Global Inequality and How to Even It Up


Human Wrongs Watch

OXFAM International* — Extreme inequality is out of control. Hundreds of millions of people are living in extreme poverty while huge rewards go to those at the very top. There are more billionaires than ever before, and their fortunes have grown to record levels. Meanwhile, the world’s poorest got even poorer.

Hundreds of millions of people are living in extreme poverty while huge rewards go to those at the very top.

The growing gap between rich and poor is undermining the fight against poverty, damaging our economies and tearing our societies apart. Yet inequality is not inevitable – it is a political choice. Photo: Eleanor Farmer/Oxfam

Many governments are fueling this inequality crisis. They are massively under taxing corporations and wealthy individuals, yet underfunding vital public services like healthcare and education.

These policies hit the poor hardest. The human costs are devastating, with women and girls suffering the most. Despite their huge contribution to our societies through unpaid care work, they are among those who benefit the least from today’s economic system.

This has to change – and change is possible.

Please join us to demand world leaders to tax the rich fairly, invest in vital public services and lift women and girls out of poverty.

Extreme poverty vs extreme wealth: how big is the inequality gap?

THE WORLD’S RICHEST 1% HAVE MORE THAN TWICE AS MUCH WEALTH AS 6.9 BILLION PEOPLE.

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ALMOST HALF OF HUMANITY IS LIVING ON LESS THAN $5.50 A DAY.

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1. Lining the pockets of the world’s billionaires. The very top of the economic pyramid sees trillions of dollars of wealth in the hands of a very small group of people, predominantly men, whose fortune and power grow exponentially.

Billionaires have now more wealth than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60 percent of the planet’s population. Meanwhile, around 735 million people are still living in extreme poverty. Many others are just one hospital bill or failed harvest away from slipping into it.

ONLY 4 CENTS IN EVERY DOLLAR OF TAX REVENUE COMES FROM TAXES ON WEALTH.

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THE SUPER-RICH AVOID AS MUCH AS 30 PERCENT OF THEIR TAX LIABILITY.

 

2. Wealth undertaxed. While the richest continue to enjoy booming fortunes, they are also enjoying some of the lowest levels of tax in decades – as are the corporations that they own. Instead taxes are falling disproportionately on working people.

When governments undertax the rich, there’s less money for vital services like healthcare and education, increasing the amount of care work that falls on the shoulders of women and girls.

TODAY 258 MILLION CHILDREN – 1 OUT OF EVERY 5 – WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO GO TO SCHOOL.

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FOR EVERY 100 BOYS OF PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE WHO ARE OUT OF SCHOOL, 121 GIRLSARE DENIED THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION.

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3. Underfunded public services. At the same time, public services are suffering from chronic underfunding or being outsourced to private companies that exclude the poorest people.

In many countries a decent education or quality healthcare has become a luxury only the rich can afford. It has profound implications for the future of our children and the opportunities they will have to live a better and longer life.

EVERY DAY 10,000 PEOPLE DIE BECAUSE THEY LACK ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE.

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EACH YEAR, 100 MILLION PEOPLE ARE FORCED INTO EXTREME POVERTY DUE TO HEALTHCARE COSTS.

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4. Denied a longer life. In most countries having money is a passport to better health and a longer life, while being poor all too often means more sickness and an earlier grave. People from poor communities can expect to die ten or twenty years earlier than people in wealthy areas.

In developing countries, a child from a poor family is twice as likely to die before the age of five than a child from a rich family.

MEN OWN 50% MORE OF THE WORLD’S WEALTH THAN WOMEN, AND THE 22 RICHEST MEN HAVE MORE WEALTH THAN ALL THE WOMEN IN AFRICA.

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THE UNPAID CARE WORK DONE BY WOMEN IS ESTIMATED  $10.8 TRILLION A YEAR – THREE TIMES THE SIZE OF THE TECH INDUSTRY.

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5. Inequality is sexist. With less income and fewer assets than men, women make up the greatest proportion of the world’s poorest households, and that proportion is growing. They are more likely to be found in poorly paid and precarious employment, supporting the market economy with cheap or free labor.

They are also supporting the state through billions of hours of unpaid or underpaid care work, a huge but unrecognized contribution to our societies and economic prosperity.

A fairer world is possible

The growing gap between rich and poor is undermining the fight against poverty, damaging our economies and tearing our societies apart.

Yet inequality is not inevitable – it is a political choice.

Governments around the world must act now to build a new, human economy that values what truly matters to society, rather than fueling an endless pursuit of profit. An economy that values the care work of women and girls instead of billionaires’ wealth. An economy that works for everyone, not just a fortunate few.

Join us to urge our political leaders to invest in vital public services and tax the rich fairly, and to ensure everyone has secure jobs paying decent wages. It’s time to fight inequality, and beat poverty for good. 

*SOURCE: OXFAM International. Go to ORIGINAL.

Learn more:  Fight inequality, beat poverty

2020 Human Wrongs Watch

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