Inequality and poverty

Across the world, the gap between the rich and the rest is growing faster than ever. And this increasingly extreme inequality is destabilising economies, damaging societies and pushing more people into poverty.

How can we tackle inequality?

With extreme wealth comes the power to influence the rules. That means that we end up with government policies that favour the super rich, regardless of what would work best for the rest of us. These policies decrease social mobility, increase poverty and create economic instability (as we saw with the recent financial crisis). So extreme inequality isn't just unfair - it's downright dangerous. 

What are the major challenges?

The undue political influence of multinational companies and some super-rich individuals is at the heart of the biggest social, economic and environmental crises we face, both in the UK and globally. The good news is that it's not inevitable, it can be reversed, and we've all got a role to play in making that happen.

  • The super rich using tax havens to avoid paying their fair share
  • Governments propping up the banks while cutting essential public services
  • Low wages, unstable jobs, zero hours contracts
  • Allowing polluting industries to obstruct a global response to climate change

What can we do to rebalance our world? 

Extreme inequality is not natural or inevitable - it's the consequence of political choices. Governments worldwide have the option of implementing policies that can start narrowing the gap right now. We need governments to act to give us a system which works for the many, and not just for the hugely privileged few.

  • Implement progressive taxation policies which close tax avoidance loopholes
  • Investment in essential public services, like free healthcare and education
  • Legislate for a legal minimum wage which is also a living wage
  • Stop subsidies to fossil fuel companies and limit their lobbying power

Keep up-to-date

Read our blog posts on inequality below, follow @oxfamcampaigns, and like our Facebook page to get involved in the campaign.

The latest blogs on inequality and poverty

The World Economic Forum in the world's most unequal region

Last week Latin American economic elites met for the regional World Economic Forum in Panama. Here Francoise Vanni reflects on the meeting and the challenge of changing the dynamics of wealth and power in a region where 164 million people live below... Read more

Challenge to World Bank and IMF to get serious about extreme inequality

Global wealth inequality threatens economic and social viability. Following Oxfam's January report revealing that just 85 people owned the same wealth as the bottom half the world's population, Forbes has updated its "billionaires'... Read more

Public services top up the income of the poorest by 76 percent

Health and education are powerful weapons in the fight against global inequality

Super rich getting richer at a rate of knots, says Forbes magazine

What's the difference between 85 and 67? One year, according to Forbes. Because with newly calculated figures available for 2014 it appears that now just 67 people own the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion.  Earlier this year,... Read more

Build back better: time for a new economic model

When politicians talk of economic recovery, how are they measuring success? Recovering the old economic model is not good enough says Katherine Trebeck, the economy needs to serve the people.