Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima (AFP Photo/ Mandel Ngan)

A new report by OXFAM released this week on wealth inequality makes a sobering read and rather dims the rosy optimism  emanating from some reports and debates at the World Economic Forum which concluding today in Davos, Switzerland.

According to the report – Reward Work, Not wealth, last year saw the biggest increase in billionaires in history with their wealth increasing by $762bn in 12 months.

“This huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over.” It reads. Tellingly, the report revelas that 82% of all wealth created in the past year alone, went to the top 1% of the world’s richest people, while the bottom 50% saw no increase at all.
“Dangerous, poorly paid work for the many is supporting extreme wealth for the few, Women are in the worst work, and almost all the super-rich are men,” the damning report castigates, while urging governments to create a “more equal society by prioritizing ordinary workers and small-scale food producers instead of the rich and powerful.”
In an opinion piece for the annual gathering Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International writes: “Here’s something we’re rarely told growing up: our world rewards wealth, not hard work or talent…The world belongs to the wealthy and nowhere is this injustice more apparent than in the workplace.”
She adds: “The result? Women in hot, overcrowded garment factories in Bangladesh paid poverty wages to stitch clothes for us to buy cheaply. Hotel housekeepers cleaning luxury rooms afraid to report sexual harassment for fear of losing their jobs. Poultry workers in the US – the richest country in the world – forced to wear nappies because they are denied toilet breaks. But in boardrooms, far removed from this suffering and indignity, things are better than ever. Shareholders and corporate bosses are enjoying record profits.”

Dangerous, poorly paid work for the many is supporting extreme wealth for the few, Women are in the worst work, and almost all the super-rich are men

The full report can be read here



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