Report Ahead of Davos: World's Billionaires Have More Wealth than 4.6 Billion People

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in the year of 2020 kicks off on January 21 in Davos, Switzerland. There, the world's leaders, business executives, and academics will discuss problems, achievements and future plans in the world of economy. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum, and around 600 public speakers are expected at the four-day event.

But before the Davos economic forum began, a report was published that unleashed the economic situation in the world: Billionaires have more wealth that 4.6 billion people. The report done by international organization Oxfam and published by Euronews also reads that the world’s richest 1% owns more than double the wealth of 6.9 billion people.

The organization further states that the number of billionaires has doubled in the last decade. The non-profit organization deliberately released its annual report ahead of the famous economic meeting to address the mounting inequality seen since 2014. This year will be no exception, as the organization’s representatives are expected at the world economic forum, and they have promised to highlight the growing tendencies of wealth inequality at the event.

"Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big businesses at the expense of ordinary men and women. No wonder people are starting to question whether billionaires should even exist," said Amitabh Behar, the CEO of Oxfam India, who is expected to be present at Davos 2020.

"[Inequality is at the] heart of fractures and social conflicts all over the world, and no one is fooled," said Pauline Leclère, Oxfam France's senior campaigner for tax justice and inequalities.

"Inequality is not someone's fate. It is the result of social and fiscal policy that reduces the participation of the wealthy [through taxes] and weakens funding for public services," Leclère added.

The report focused on overall inequality and the gender divide.

"Unfortunately, the organization's conclusion is the same. Inequality continues to rise in extreme proportions," Leclère told Euronews, stating that inequality is bad for the economy.

This goes hand in hand with the statement of Kristalina Georgieva, director of the International Monetary Fund, at a conference in Washington DC last week, where she noted that “although inequality between countries was decreasing, inside many high-income countries, inequality is growing”.

"The gap between rich and poor can't be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies, and too few governments are committed to these," added Behar, Oxfam CEO.

Representatives of the NGO told Euronews that they’re waiting for the Davos participants and politicians to take action that make actual changes for improvement in the world economy, and not some “lofty political speeches,” because the inequality in the world cannot be overcome merely with statements.

This year’s Oxfam report analyzed the sexist tendencies in the world’s economic system, and found that men worldwide own 50% more wealth than women.

“Women and girls are among those who benefit least from today's economic system," said Behar.

In particular, to help paint a clear picture of the drastic reality, the report suggests a comparison: the 22 richest men in the world have more wealth than all the women in Africa.

What’s more, women tend to work in sectors that are more insecure and less valued economically, the Oxfam report states. “They do more than 75% of unpaid care work and make up two-thirds of the ‘care workforce’ in nursery and domestic jobs,” writes Euronews.

What will the world leaders do with these reports? Will they only come up with ‘lofty political speeches’ while addressing them, or will there actually be actions that follow up? We’ll have to wait and see.

By Nini Dakhundaridze

Image source: Euronews

20 January 2020 16:25