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Davos 2017

Oxfam has revealed that eight billionaires own the same wealth as half the worlds population. That's right - eight men own the same as the poorest 3.6 billion people. 

The global economy is broken

To end the injustice of poverty for good, we need an economy that works for everyone, not just the few. The world’s 1,810 billionaires have the power and influence to help make it happen.

This January, world leaders and economic experts will meet in Davos for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. Oxfam is using the opportunity to ask billionaires to help tackle extreme inequality

Eight billionaires

That’s right – eight individuals own as much as the poorest 3.6 billion people. Meanwhile, every day 1 in 9 people go to bed hungry.

Such extreme inequality is outrageous. Families are forced to suffer criminally low wages, inhumane working conditions, and a total lack of even the most basic public services like water, education and healthcare. Governments are doing too little to help. And all the while, the usual suspects make billions from a system bent in their favour.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose another future. A future where governments act to help everyone, where people are put before profits, and everyone is given a fair chance. We can help end poverty, and the rich and powerful need to play their part.

Sign the letter

Read the report

It’s no secret that there’s enough to go around: food, water, money. And every family knows how to share to make ends meet. But because of an economic system that prioritises the already-rich few, and leaves the rest of us struggling to get the basics, inequality is everywhere you look. In fact, 70% of people live in a country that’s seen a rise in inequality in the last 30 years.

Clean water: the most important currency there is. Yet for some people, a lack of this basic necessity means that to take a single sip is to risk killer diseases. Meanwhile, the world’s richest people are making profits so fast that that in just 25 years, the world could see its first trillionaire.

Corporate tax dodging costs poor countries at least $100 billion every year. That’s enough to provide an education for the 124 million children who aren’t in school, and fund healthcare that could prevent 6 million children dying every year.

1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day. Meanwhile, the world’s 8 richest people – so few they’d all fit in a golf buggy – have a combined wealth the same as the poorest 3.6 billion people’s. Billionaires have done very well out of an economic system that favours the few and leaves too many others behind.

Give a man a fish and he’ll feed himself for a day. Give him a corporate to run, access to a tax haven and influence over lawmakers, and he’ll make billions in profits. And what about women? They often find themselves at the bottom of the pile – in fact, at the current rate it will take 170 years for women to be paid the same as men. The world doesn’t have to be as unequal as it is. If our economic system worked for everyone, not just the privileged few, then working men and women the world over could get decent wages and work their way out of poverty.


This webpage has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this webpage are the sole responsibility of Oxfam and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.