World’s 85 richest people own half the world’s wealth

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Only 85 people hold roughly half the wealth owned by the bottom half of the global population, according to a stunning report released today by the British organization Oxfam.

The report, titled “Working for the Few,” details how economic inequality is soaring in both developed and undeveloped nations.

"Wealthy elites have co-opted political power to rig the rules of the economic game, undermining democracy and creating a world where the 85 richest people own the wealth of half of the world's population," according to Oxfam.

In addition to 85 people having as much as the poorest half of the world, the top one percent own half of the entire wealth in the world.

"Wealthy elites have co-opted political power to rig the rules of the economic game, undermining democracy and creating a world where the 85 richest people own the wealth of half of the world's population," Oxfam claimed. 

In addition to establishing policies that facilitate the accumulation of wealth by the richest, they are paying less of their share in taxes. Since the late 1970s, tax rates on the wealthy have fallen in 29 out of 30 countries. Ironically, the tax cuts were sold to the public as a way of creating a supposed “trickle down” effect that would put more money into the hands of middle-class and poor workers.

Many of the very wealth avoid paying hardly any taxes through loopholes they’ve paid lawmakers to create in the law and by hiding trillions of dollars in a web of tax havens around the world, Oxfam discovered in its research.

"It is estimated that $21 trillion is held unrecorded and off-shore," Oxfam said in a press release accompanying its report.
"It is staggering that in the 21st Century, half of the world's population own no more than a tiny elite whose numbers could all sit comfortably in a single train carriage," Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima said.