Rapport: På vej mod verdens første trilliardær

Otte mænd ejer lige så meget som den fattigste halvdel af jordens befolkning.

(Læs den engelske pressemeddelelse og find rapporten fra Oxfam herunder)

Facebookstifter Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft-grundlægger Bill Gates og den mexicanske rigmand bag Grupo Carso, Carlos Slim Helú, ejer sammen med fem andre ekstremt velstående mænd lige så meget som de 3,6 milliarder mennesker, der udgør den fattigste halvdel af jordens befolkning.

Det skriver Information på baggrund af en ny rapport, En økonomi for de 99 procent, som den internationale udviklingsorganisation Oxfam, der har som formål at bekæmpe global fattigdom, udgiver forud for det årlige World Economic Forum-møde for verdens politiske og økonomiske ledere i Davos.

Følg Fattigdoms-debatten

Fattigdomsdebatten bidrager med ny viden til fattigdoms-området. Læs tidligere indlæg her:  

Temaredaktør Per K. Larsen har beskæftiget sig med fattigdom og socialt udsatte gennem årtier, og er i dag landssekretær i EAPN. 

En af rapportens konklusioner er, at syv ud af ti mennesker bor i et land, hvor uligheden er steget i de seneste 30 år. Herunder også Danmark. Ifølge tidligere undersøgelser er indkomsten fra 1988 til 2011 for de fattigste ti procent af verdens befolkning ganske vist vokset med 2,7 dollar i gennemsnit om året. Men de rigeste ti procents indkomst er vokset 182 gange så meget. Det fremgår dog ikke, om stigningen er forholdsmæssig lige eller ulige. 

På baggrund af tallene advarer udviklingsorganisationen om, at den globale kapitalisme er hinsides demokratisk kontrol, fordi den økonomiske elite får mere og mere indflydelse og magt til at definere rammerne, så de er til størst mulig gavn for den selv.

»Finanskrisen og den manglende demokratiske kontrol med markedet og den økonomiske elite viser, at vi har et økonomisk system, der også er ude af kontrol og har brug for at blive reddet fra sig selv,« siger Lars Koch, international chef i Oxfam IBIS, til Information.

Som en af de vigtigste årsager til den ekstreme ulighed peger Lars Koch på det, rapporten omtaler som ’kvartalskapitalisme’.

»Tallene viser frem for alt en økonomi, der er syg og ikke virker for mennesker. Det gør den ikke, fordi den økonomiske model, vi har, fremmer kortsigtede investeringer frem for langsigtede. Det kalder vi ’kvartals-kapitalisme’. Bl.a. ser vi, at selskaber i stigende grad udbetaler deres overskud til aktionærerne i stedet for at geninvestere det i udvikling og innovation,« siger han til Information og henviser til et af rapportens eksempler, der viser, at omkring 10. pct. af de engelske selskabers overskud i 1970 blev udbetalt til aktionærerne. I dag udbetales omkring 70 pct.

Ser man på de hovedudfordringer, som verdens finans- og magtelite i World Economic Forum selv peger på i sin netop offentliggjorte årlige risikorapport, er de på linje med Oxfam. Risikorapporten opstiller en række udfordringer, og to af dem drejer sig om at bekæmpe de stigende forskelle i formuer og indkomster.

»Vi har også hørt Saxobanks cheføkonom, Steen Jakobsen, sige, at det er et problem, at så stor en del af væksten i verden bliver spist af de ganske få rigeste, så den ikke kommer alle til gode. Og når World Economic Forum oplister ulighed i deres risikorapport, er det, fordi begavede mennesker i den private sektor kan se, at det her resulterer i Trump og Brexit, usikkerhed og ustabilitet,« siger Lars Koch.

Direktør i den borgerligt-liberale tænketank CEPOS, Martin Ågerup, giver ikke meget for den globale elites nye indsigter:

»Der er noget politisk korrekthed over det, og det er i hvert fald en gratis omgang at sætte sig i Schweiz og sige: ’Jeg betaler alt for lidt i skat’. Så får man lidt god omtale,« siger Martin Ågerup.

Ågerup mener desuden, at Oxfam er galt afmarcheret:

»Alt det Oxfam IBIS er sat i verden for at opnå, går jo fremragende: Antallet af fattige i verden er aldrig faldet så hurtigt som nu. Aldrig har vi set så mange, der bevæger sig ud af underernæring og analfabetisme. Og børnedødeligheden er aldrig faldet så meget, som den gør nu. Er det så overhovedet relevant at fokusere på, at Bill Gates er blevet rigere? Det skader ikke verdens fattigste,« siger han til Information.

Pressemeddelelsen fra Oxfam ifbm. rapporten, som du finder herunder.

Just 8 men own same wealth as half the world

Eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity, according to a new report published by Oxfam today to mark the annual meeting of political and business leaders in Davos.

Oxfam’s report, ‘An economy for the 99 percent’, shows that the gap between rich and poor is far greater than had been feared. It details how big business and the super-rich are fuelling the inequality crisis by dodging taxes, driving down wages and using their power to influence politics. It calls for a fundamental change in the way we manage our economies so that they work for all people, and not just a fortunate few. 

New and better data on the distribution of global wealth – particularly in India and China – indicates that the poorest half of the world has less wealth than had been previously thought.  Had this new data been available last year, it would have shown that nine billionaires owned the same wealth as the poorest half of the planet, and not 62, as Oxfam calculated at the time.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said: 

“It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day.  Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy.  

“Across the world, people are being left behind. Their wages are stagnating yet corporate bosses take home million dollar bonuses; their health and education services are cut while corporations and the super-rich dodge their taxes; their voices are ignored as governments sing to the tune of big business and a wealthy elite.”

Oxfam’s report shows how our broken economies are funnelling wealth to a rich elite at the expense of the poorest in society, the majority of whom are women. The richest are accumulating wealth at such an astonishing rate that the world could see its first trillionaire in just 25 years.  To put this figure in perspective – you would need to spend $1 million every day for 2738 years to spend $1 trillion.   

Public anger with inequality is already creating political shockwaves across the globe. Inequality has been cited as a significant factor in the election of Donald Trump in the US, the election of President Duterte in the Philippines, and Brexit in the UK.  

Seven out of 10 people live in a country that has seen a rise in inequality in the last 30 years.  Between 1988 and 2011 the incomes of the poorest 10 percent increased by just $65 per person, while the incomes of the richest 1 percent grew by $11,800 per person – 182 times as much. 

Women, who are often employed in low pay sectors, face high levels of discrimination in the work place, and who take on a disproportionate amount of unpaid care work often find themselves at the bottom of the pile.  On current trends it will take 170 years for women to be paid the same as men.

‘An Economy for the 99 percent’ also reveals how big business and the super-rich are fuelling the inequality crisis.  It shows how, in order to maximize returns to their wealthy shareholders, big corporations are dodging taxes, driving down wages for their workers and the prices paid to producers, and investing less in their business.

Oxfam interviewed women working in a garment factory in Vietnam who work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week and still struggle to get by on the $1 an hour they earn producing clothes for some of the world’s biggest fashion brands. The CEOs of these companies are some of the highest paid people in the world.   Corporate tax dodging costs poor countries at least $100 billion every year. This is enough money to provide an education for the 124 million children who aren’t in school and fund healthcare interventions that could prevent the deaths of at least six million children every year.

The report outlines how the super-rich use a network of tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of tax and an army of wealth managers to secure returns on their investments that would not be available to ordinary savers.  Contrary to popular belief, many of the super-rich are not ‘self-made’. Oxfam analysis shows over half the world’s billionaires either inherited their wealth or accumulated it through industries which are prone to corruption and cronyism. 

It also demonstrates how big business and the super-rich use their money and connections to ensure government policy works for them. For example, billionaires in Brazil have sought to influence elections and successfully lobbied for a reduction in tax bills while oil corporations in Nigeria have managed to secure generous tax breaks.

Byanyima said: “The millions of people who have been left behind by our broken economies need solutions, not scapegoats. That is why Oxfam is setting out a new common sense approach to managing our economies so that they work for the majority and not just the fortunate few.”

“Governments are not helpless in the face of technological change and market forces.  If politicians stop obsessing with GDP, and focus on delivering for all their citizens and not just a wealthy few, a better future is possible for everyone.”

Oxfam’s blueprint for a more human economy includes: 

Governments end the extreme concentration of wealth to end poverty. Governments should increase taxes on both wealth and high incomes to ensure a more level playing field, and to generate funds needed to invest in healthcare, education and job creation.

Governments cooperate rather than just compete. Governments should work together to ensure workers are paid a decent wage, and to put a stop to tax dodging and the race to the bottom on corporate tax. 

Governments support companies that benefit their workers and society rather than just their shareholders. The multi-billion Euro company Mondragon, is owned by its 74,000 strong workforce.  All employees receive a decent wage because its pay structure ensures that the highest paid member of staff earns no more than 9 times the amount of the lowest paid.

Governments ensure economies work for women. They must help to dismantle the barriers to women’s economic progress such as access to education and the unfair burden of unpaid care work.

Oxfam is also calling on business leaders to play their part in building a human economy. The World Economic Forum has responsive and responsible leadership as its key theme this year.  They can make a start by committing to pay their fair share of tax and by ensuring their businesses pay a living wage.  People around the global can also join the campaign at www.evenitup.org.

Læs mere om rapporten hos Oxfam

Emneord: 160117, Oxfam, Fattigdom, Analyser, Rapporter, Demokrati, Fattigdomsdebatten, Ulighed, Martin Aagerup, Cepos, Lars Koch, World Economic Forum
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