Income inequality appears to be one of those problems that's going to keep getting worse until some kind of critical mass is reached and the economy completely collapses, even though it became more of a mainstream political issue in the recent American presidential election. A new Oxfam report illustrates this with a pretty mind-blowing statistic: That a group of only eight men together possess enough wealth to match that which belongs to an entire half of the global population.
Those eight men are Bill Gates, Amancio Ortega, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg, who together enjoy a combined net worth of $426 billion, according to the report. In the interest of saving space, I won't list all of the planet's 3.7 billion poorest people, but suffice it to say that they also have to make due with roughly the same amount of wealth, a situation that Oxfam's Paul O'Brien commented on this in USA Today:
"It is mind-boggling that just eight men own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world's population, but that's the sobering reality of 2017. Such dramatic inequality is trapping millions in poverty, fracturing our societies and poisoning our politics."
The study also crunched some other numbers to place the planet's growing income inequality problem in various different perspectives. For instance, a CEO at the top of his field can earn as much in a year as 10,000 Bangladeshi factory workers, and the ten biggest corporations in the world generate more revenue than 180 of the world's poorest nations.
Of course, as with everything these days, opinions vary on how to deal with this problem (or even whether such increasing disparity counts as a problem at all), but Oxfam directly urges incoming President Trump, other world leaders, and the heads of the international business community – a group which happens to include the eight richest men discussed in the report – to "take urgent action to reduce inequality and the extreme concentration of wealth by ensuring that workers are paid a decent (salary) and by increasing taxes on both wealth and high incomes".