Oxfam reports that by 2016 the richest 1% will own more wealth than all the rest of us combined

New report from Oxfam shines brighter light on where global wealth is concentrated and who controls it.

Ottawa (20 Jan. 2015) — Another report has been released indicating that the wealth gap continues to grow between a small group of rich elites and the rest of the world. Oxfam produced Wealth: Having it all and wanting more, a research paper that demonstrates the massive inequality that continues to grow across the globe. The timing of the report is important, as it arrives just before the opening of the World Economic Forum being held in Davos, Switzerland. This annual meeting brings together the elite of the business, political, intellectual world to discuss the world's most pressing issues. 

Income inequality may be on the global radar but action is slow in coming

As the report details, in 2014, the richest one per cent of people in the world owned 48 per cent of global wealth. The remaining adults, or the 99 per cent, were left with just 52 per cent. 

Yet this doesn't tell the story about the rapid rate in which the ultra-rich are amassing their wealth. Oxfam reports that "in 2010, the richest 80 people in the world had a net wealth of $1.3tn. By 2014, the 80 people who top the Forbes rich list had a collective wealth of $1.9tn; an increase of $600bn in just 4 years, or 50 per cent in nominal terms. As the wealth of everyone else has not been increasing at the same rate as that for the top 80, the share of total wealth owned by this group has increased and the gap between the very rich and everyone else has also been increasing."

If the current trend continues, the one per cent are on track in 2016 to own more than half of the globe's wealth. 

Oxfam recommendations for government action

The international agency is calling on government to adopt a seven point plan to tackle inequality:

  • Clamp down on tax dodging by corporations and rich individuals.
  • Invest in universal, free public services such as health and education.
  • Share the tax burden fairly, shifting taxation from labour and consumption towards capital and wealth.
  • Introduce minimum wages and move towards a living wage for all workers.
  • Introduce equal pay legislation and promote economic policies to give women a fair deal.
  • Ensure adequate safety nets for the poorest, including a minimum income guarantee.
  • Agree to a global goal to tackle inequality.

Inequality is not inevitable

"These statistics are not lost on us," says James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "As we traveled across Canada on the All Together Now! campaign's Fairness Express talking to people about income inequality, we heard the stories about struggle and trying to get ahead in this economy. They see who is hoarding the wealth, how the system is enabling the rich and corporations, and they see government's not doing anything about it."

"People are fed up and determined to force a change," Clancy continued. "They are standing up for public services and good jobs. They are talking about tax fairness and equality. They won't be intimidated and they won't quit. And we are with them, and our allies that are fighting for equality, all the way."

More information: 

All Together Now! campaign

Oxfam: Wealth: Having it all and wanting more


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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