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The Richest 1% Could Soon Own More Than The Rest Of The World Combined

Oxfam has published the research to coincide with the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

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The richest 1% will own more than the rest of the world’s population combined next year unless something is done about rising inequality, the charity Oxfam has warned.

EMPICS Sport / John Walton

A report published today by the charity called Wealth: Having it all and wanting more claims the wealthiest 1% saw their share of global wealth increase from 44% in 2009 to 48% last year, and at the current rate will exceed 50% by 2016.

The projection is based on Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Datebook for 2013 and 2014.

According to Oxfam, the richest 1% had an average wealth of $2.7 million per adult in 2014.

PA / Nick Ansell

Meanwhile, the charity said, 80% of the world’s population held just 5.5% of the global wealth, with an average of $3,851 per adult.

The publication of Oxfam’s research coincides with the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.

Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, said:

Do we really want to live in a world where the 1% own more than the rest of us combined? The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.

In the past 12 months we have seen world leaders from President Obama to Christine Lagarde talk more about tackling extreme inequality but we are still waiting for many of them to walk the walk. It is time our leaders took on the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world.

Business as usual for the elite isn't a cost free option – failure to tackle inequality will set the fight against poverty back decades. The poor are hurt twice by rising inequality – they get a smaller share of the economic pie and because extreme inequality hurts growth, there is less pie to be shared around.

Oxfam is calling on governments to adopt a seven-point plan to tackle global inequality. The list incudes clamping down on tax dodging, investment in universal free public services, and introducing minimum wages.

Richard James is the News Director for BuzzFeed Australia and is based in Sydney.

Contact Richard James at

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