62 richest people own same wealth as half the world, says Oxfam report

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Washington, Jan 18: Sixty two richest people of the world have now become owners of as much wealth as the poorer half of the global population, said a research report.

The report by Oxfam, "An Economy" for the 1%, outlines how the wealth of the poorest half of the world's population -more than 3.6 billion people - has fallen by a trillion dollars (41 percent) since 2010.

62 people own same wealth as half world

"Meanwhile the wealth of the richest 62 people has increased by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76 trillion," said the report issued on Sunday.

"Power and privilege are being used to rig the system to increase the gap between the richest and the rest of us to levels we have not seen before. Far from trickling down, income and wealth are instead being pulled upwards at an alarming rate," said Raymond C. Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America.

"While such extreme inequality is bad for all of us, it's the poorest among us who suffer the grimmest consequences."
Oxfam is calling for urgent action to tackle the extreme inequality crisis that threatens to undermine the progress made in fighting global poverty during the last quarter of a century. Oxfam is especially calling for an end to the era of tax havens.

"Tax havens are at the core of a global system that allows large corporations and wealthy individuals to avoid paying their fair share, depriving governments, rich and poor, of the resources they need to provide vital public services and tackle rising inequality," continued Offenheiser.

Globally, it is estimated that a total of $7.6 trillion of individual's wealth sits offshore - a twelfth of the total. If tax would be paid on the income that this wealth generates, an extra $190 billion would be available to governments every year.

Read More: China's wealth gap worsens: survey

Oxfam also highlighted that 9 out of 10 of this year's World Economic Forum corporate partners have a presence in at least one tax haven and estimated that tax dodging by multinational corporations costs developing countries at least $100 billion every year. Corporate investment in tax havens almost quadrupled between 2000 and 2014.

Although the number of people living in extreme poverty halved between 1990 and 2010, the average annual income of the poorest 10 percent has risen by less than $3-a-year in the past quarter of a century. Had inequality within countries not grown during that time, an additional 200 million people would have escaped poverty.

The research was released days ahead of the annual gathering of the world's elite in Davos for the World Economic Forum 2016.

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