It’s not a secret that wealth disparity is a problem in our world. The global community is full of the haves and the have-nots. And there are way more have-nots. To put this in perspective, the wealth of these eight billionaires combined is equal to half the entire population’s wealth. That’s a lot of money.
So who are these mega-billionaires? The answers probably won’t surprise you. On the list, complied by Oxfam and based upon calculations from the Swiss bank Credit Suisse and Forbes are:
- Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft
- Amancio Ortega, founder of Inditex
- Warren Buffet, veteran investor
- Carlos Slim, Mexican business magnate
- Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO
- Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder
- Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle Corporation
- Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City
This list of billionaires is even more striking considering the fact that incomes are stagnating for the working class. And yet, the wealth of the mega-rich has increased by an average of 11 percent since 2009, according to Fortune Magazine.
A prime example is Bill Gates. Despite his massive philanthropic efforts, his fortune has increased by a whopping 50 percent—that’s $25 billion—since his 2006 announcement that he would leave Microsoft.
Looking for some more perspective, because the numbers are just too inconceivably large? It took 43 of the richest people in the world to equal the wealth of the poorest 50 percent of the population in 2010. In 2016, it took just nine people.
At the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos this week, Oxfam described this wealth gap as “obscene.” In its report, Oxfam demanded a “crackdown” on the mega-wealthy dodging their taxes and a movement away from “‘super-charged’ shareholder capitalism that pays out disproportionately to the rich.”
“If billionaires choose to give their money away then that is a good thing,” Max Lawson, head of policy at Oxfam, said at the forum. “But inequality matters and you cannot have a system where billionaires are systematically paying lower rates of tax than their secretary or cleaner.”