It Takes 8 Rich Guys to Equal Half the World’s Wealth


The public in recent years has become increasingly aware of the growing divide when it comes to the rich and everyone else. But a new report by the charity Oxfam really puts it in stunning perspective.

According to the latest data, the wealth of the planet’s eight richest men is equal to the combined wealth of the bottom half of the globe, some 3.6 billion people. Six of the eight are from the U.S. That’s a substantial change from last year, when it took Earth’s 62 richest individuals to equal the same.

Not surprisingly, this dramatic growth in income inequality is affecting tens of millions of everyday Americans. A separate report by the World Economic Forum found that this country ranks 23rd out of 30 developed nations on a measure known as the inclusive development index, which measures income inequality.

Workers, despite toiling in their jobs each day, are not getting their fair share.  As Oxfam said, “Inequality is a daily reality for millions of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, which is part of a global trend that has seen the wealthy profit from an unfair political system as everyone else is left behind. In the U.S., the top 1% control 42% of wealth. Between 1988 and 2011 the poorest 10% of Americans saw their incomes grow by an average $427 while the richest 10% saw their income increase by $13,490 on average.”

Closing the wage gap remains one of the most significant challenges of our times. But it is not impossible, as Oxfam points out.  If elected officials would raise the minimum wage, stop offshore tax dodging which costs the U.S. and developing countries more than $100 billion each year, and ensure that everyone has access to high quality health care and educational opportunities, the U.S. would be on its way.

Of course, that is easier said than done. Still, workers must insist that they and their families are treated with respect and dignity. Fulfilling these promises would ensure a better future for many hard-working Americans.