The world's 2,153 billionaires are richer than 4.6 billion people combined, Oxfam says
- The world's 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than 4.6 billion people combined, Oxfam's latest report on inequality found.
- The richest 1% are more than twice as wealthy as 6.9 billion people, or nearly 90% of the human population, the report estimated.
- A key driver of the wealth gap is that women and girls put in 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work every day, the Oxfam researchers argued.
- Their recommendations include investing in national care, passing laws to protect and pay care workers, and ending extreme wealth.
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The world's 2,153 billionaires are richer than 4.6 billion people - 60% of the global population - combined, according to "Time to Care," Oxfam's latest report on inequality.
"Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of ordinary men and women," Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar said in a press release ahead of this week's World Economic Forum in Davos, an annual gathering of business, academic, and political leaders.
"No wonder people are starting to question whether billionaires should even exist," Behar added.
The richest 1% are more than twice as wealthy as 6.9 billion people, or nearly 90% of the human population, the report's authors found. The 22 wealthiest men in the world, led by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, possess more wealth than all the women in Africa put together, they added.
The Oxfam researchers highlighted a key driver of the issue: women and girls put in 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work every day, contributing $10.8 trillion to the global economy each year - more than triple the size of the global tech industry, by their estimates.
"This great divide is based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of hours of the most essential work - the unpaid and underpaid care work done primarily by women and girls around the world," they said.
The authors made several recommendations to narrow the gap: Invest in national care to lessen the burden of care work shouldered by women and girls, pass laws to protect carers' rights and pay care workers a living wage, give carers a say in relevant decisions, challenge regressive and sexist norms, and ensure businesses value care work.
Perhaps their most controversial proposal: "End extreme wealth to end extreme poverty."
The researchers estimated that if the richest 1% paid another 0.5% in annual taxes on their wealth over the next decade, the money collected could create 117 million jobs in health, education, and care for the elderly and children.
The recommendation echoes Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have called for higher taxes on the wealthy to redistribute wealth and reduce inequality. Even Gates recently argued that "the rich should pay more."
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