We have many of the poor in Oxfam’s study

Credit to Author: Tempo Desk| Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2019 16:10:06 +0000




ON the eve of the World Economic Forum (WEF) which meets ev­ery January in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the world’s most pressing issues affecting world economic growth, the international activist organization Oxfam issued last Monday a report on the grow­ing disparity between the rich and the poor in the world today.

The world’s 26 richest people, the Oxfam report said, own the same amount of wealth as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poor­est half of humanity. The combined fortunes of these 26 billionaires further increased by $112 billion last year. In the same period, the fortunes of the world’s 3.8 billion poorest people declined by 11 percent.

Governments around the world, Oxfam said, are exacerbating the inequality by underfunding public health services like healthcare and education, while they consistently under-tax the wealthy. If govern­ments can get the world’s richest 1 percent to pay just 0.5 percent extra tax on their wealth, Oxfam said, they would raise enough money to educate 262 million children now out of school and provide health care for 3.3 million people.

These figures may draw the attention of many of those attending the World Economic Forum, but the conference itself is not likely to take them up. The business leaders, economists, and political leaders attending the WEF forum are more concerned about ongoing specific problems such as the US-China trade war and the supply and rising global prices of oil, that are affecting, or are likely to affect economic stability and progress around the world today.

Oxfam’s findings, however, should be in the thinking of the leaders of the world’s various nations. Too often, as these leaders draw up plans for their countries’ growth and development as a whole, they neglect the concerns of the poor in their societies.

In most of 2018, the poor in our country suffered from high prices – inflation – to such a great extent, due to a combination of high global oil prices, new taxes, and price manipulation. In this new year of 2019, our officials should keep a close watch on these same fac­tors as they may rise again, setting off a new wave of inflation that will hurt the poorest of our people, who are part of the 3.8 billion in Oxfam’s study.