New research by Oxfam reveals a widening gap between rich and poor, with the world’s wealthiest 1% receiving 82% of the total wealth created over the past year.
Mark Goldring, Oxfam’s chief executive, described the report’s findings as “an unacceptable level of inequality.” The international NGO, which is running a campaign to “Fight inequality, bear poverty”, has been criticized by some for a perceived lack of objectivity. With the wealth of high net worth individuals often undisclosed, and poorer countries generally maintaining scant records, the reports’ accuracy has been called into question.
Mark Littlewood, director general at free market think tank The Institute of Economic Affairs, told the BBC that Oxfam was becoming “obsessed with the rich rather than the poor,” adding:
“Higher taxes and redistribution will do nothing to help the poor; wealth is not a fixed pie. Richer people are also highly taxed people – reducing their wealth won’t lead to redistribution, it will destroy it to the benefit of no one.”
Oxfam’s report, now in its fifth year, bases its data on personal wealth listings information from Forbes and Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook.