Just eight individuals, all men, own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world's population, Oxfam said on Monday (January 16) in a report calling for action to curtail rewards for those at the top. Jacob Greaves reports.
Davos are you listening? As global elites descend on the Swiss ski resort for the World Economic Forum, Oxfam have published a damning inequality report. Their headline claim is that just eight people, are as rich as the 3.6 billion people who form the poorest half of the world's population. Matthew Spencer - Campaigns, Policy and Influencing Director (SOUNDBITE) (English) OXFAM CAMPAIGNS, POLICY AND INFLUENCING DIRECTOR, MATTHEW SPENCER, SAYING: "What's important is that they do debate this issue and when they go home they play their important part in correcting this warping of our global economy." The aid agency publishes its inequality report annually. This year they say the wealth divide has only worsened. And now more than ever it might make sense for business and political high flyers to take note. The shock Brexit and Trump results interpreted as one symptom of an unequal system. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OXFAM CAMPAIGNS, POLICY AND INFLUENCING DIRECTOR, MATTHEW SPENCER, SAYING: "I think there's strong evidence that those ruptures in our political system are in part to do with growing inequality, people are feeling less involved in the success of their nation and society and more dissatisfied with the status quo." Oxfam also blames companies that dodge taxes and squeeze workers' wages. It says new data from China and India suggest the problem of inequality is worse than feared. In principle Davos could be just the place to tackle such issues. In fact this year a key theme is responsive and responsible leadership. And the people here certainly have the power to effect change. If they don't, critics will argue it's just more window dressing.