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

Posted by Rachel George Digital Campaigns Manager

2nd Apr 2014

Panning for gold in Australia

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, we published a report, Working for the Few, which made news across the globe with the "85 stat" as it came to be known around Oxfam HQ. The idea that such a paltry number of people could own more wealth than the poorest half of the planet's population turned out to be, quite frankly, gobsmacking. 

But now it appears things have changed. The richest of the rich have gotten even richer. How have they done this? Well, in large part it's down to the global status of economies. If your country's economy is only growing at, for example, 2%, but the rate of return on wealth is 7%, you have widening inequality. 

This is because the income of most people is based on the economic growth of the country they live in - they don't have income from investments and accumulated fortunes - and so their wealth grows as a much slower rate than for your average billionaire. 

Why does this matter? Because inequality isn't healthy - medically, sociologically or economically. Extreme wealth doesn't just buy yachts - it buys political representation and privatises industries, education and healthcare. It controls media and monopolises food production. It wastes the talents of ordinary folks and destroys their aspirations for a better future, whether they live in Luton or Lagos. Our report goes into detail on just how damaging it is. 

So, if we want to have more democratic political representation and public services which benefit everyone, and if we want to finally leave the economic crisis of 2007/8 behind us… we need to reduce inequality. Want to get involved? Follow @oxfamcampaigns for our latest action.

Blog post written by Rachel George

Digital Campaigns Manager

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