Last week the world’s entrepreneurs, banking executives and world leaders met in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. Important issues were discussed, from Brexit to climate change and wealth inequality. Now you’ve probably seen the headlines that just 8 men own half of the world’s wealth. Yes, that’s right. 8 people have the same amount of wealth as 3.6 billion people! 1% to the rest of the 99%.
This seems pretty difficult to comprehend, even in the strange times of 2017, so let’s discuss exactly what this signifies. It is not merely an inequality in the distribution of wealth, but the knock on effects that come from efforts to maintain this wealth. From tax dodging and hideaway havens, to paying unfair wages, to using economic and political influences, such as at the WEF, these billionaires contribute to an unfair and broken economic system that perpetuates this unfair and illogical distribution of wealth. This doesn’t just mean the rich and the poor, but the super rich and the cripplingly impoverished. Forget deciding whether to splash out on a £3 coffee or not, this is a system where people live on less than that a day! And this is wrong and completely nonsensical, especially now, and especially because it will not take much to create a better world that can provide a sustainable economic future for everyone. For the 99% who own the other half of the world’s wealth. For those who go to bed hungry whilst others have a wealth that will take several lifetimes to spend
What is required is common sense, responsible leadership and tax honesty, to help create a world which can serve the interests of everyone, allow people to flourish with their talents, earn a decent wage, gain a great education. Oxfam aims to help create this world by improving government co-operation in tackling tax dodging and tax havens, so that the super rich do pay a fair amount of tax, increase the rights of workers to benefit the wider society, and fight for women’s rights and education. It is not just about philanthropy and charitable giving, it is about creating a sustainable economic future by tackling this warped and broken economic model which allows for unfair economic practices like tax dodging and low wages. We can easily do this if those who perpetuate this broken system accept responsibility and work to fix it, using their power and political influence. Our role, as the not-super rich is to help make this happen through action.
That is why Oxfam is campaigning for an economy that works for everyone, by calling on business leaders to help create this economy through fair taxation, fair pay, ethical investment and the use of political power and influence to help everyone. If you would like more information it is available here. Oxfam has also set up a petition to the world’s richest 8 to mend this broken system, which can be found here.
A better, fairer world is possible. All it takes is common sense and a clear moral sense of equality.