Top 1% to Have Half the World's Wealth Next Year

The very rich, known as the 1%, will get richer soon, to the tune of owning more than 50% of the world’s wealth by 2016.

The organization Oxfam released a report, with conclusions about how wealth can be redistributed, in which its researchers said:

The combined wealth of the world’s richest 1 percent will overtake that of everyone else by next year given the current trend of rising inequality, warned relief and development organization Oxfam America today ahead of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

The Davos meeting is an annual gathering of chief executives, world leaders and powerful intellectuals. It has become the premier such meeting of each year.

Oxfam also believes it knows what the wealthy own and why they own it. The richest people in the world also use their influence to keep their status:

In Oxfam’s issue brief, the organization also outlines how 20 percent of billionaires around the world have interests in the financial and insurance sectors, a group that saw their cash wealth increase by 11 percent in the last 12 months. These sectors spent $550 million lobbying policy makers in Washington and Brussels alone during 2013. Billionaires listed as having interests in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors saw their collective net worth increase by 47 percent, and the industry spent more than $500 million lobbying policy makers in Washington and Brussels. Oxfam is concerned that the lobbying power of these sectors is a major barrier in the way of reforming the global tax system and of ensuring intellectual property rules do not deny access to lifesaving medicines for the world’s poorest.

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The “Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More” report singles out billionaires who have made most of their money in the financial sector. These include Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-B), information tycoon and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, and George Soros, who made most of his money investing. The report does not mention that several billionaires, particularly Buffett, have given a great deal of their wealth away.

Oxfam believes it has solutions to the problem:

  1. Governments need to work harder to lift the economic situations of the extremely poor.
  2. The position of women in society needs to be improved.
  3. Workers need to make a living wage.
  4. The tax system must be set so that it moves wealth from the wealthy and to those further down the economic ladder.
  5. International tax holes that help large companies and the rich need to be eliminated.
  6. Public services should be free by 2020.
  7. R&D should be aimed at creating drugs that are available to a wide portion of people of all economic circumstances.
  8. A floor of benefits should be created so children and old people have access to them.
  9. And money donated into the economy should be directed toward those who are not wealthy so they can improve their ability to be part of the democratic process.

What the reported does not say is that attempts toward most of these improvements have made no progress during decades of effort.

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