Our Readers' Opinions
January 26, 2016
When 62 equals 3.6 billion

Do you want a lesson in modern mathematics? Then you need to go no further than some shocking statistics provided by OXFAM International, one of the leading development organizations in the world today.

In a paper presented to the just-concluded World Economic Forum, held in the Swiss resort town of Davos, and suitably entitled “An economy for the 1%”, OXFAM used statistics provided by the big Swiss bank, Credit Suisse,{{more}} and the prestigious Forbes magazine, to reveal the extent of inequality in the world.

This is where the puzzling modern maths came in. Those statistics revealed that a mere 62 persons, the super mega-rich, possess as much wealth as 3.6 billion people at the bottom of the income ladder. Yes, just 62 of them own as much as 3,600,000,000 of the rest of us! And, not only is there enormous inequality, but, according to the Oxfam paper, the gap is growing wider.

Thus, while the wealth of the mega-rich increased by 44 per cent since 2010, rising by US$542 billion to US$ 1.7 trillion, the combined value of the assets of the poorest half of the world’s population fell by 41 per cent during the same period. There is even a gender bias to that economic inequality for 53 of the 62 money moguls are men.

The Oxfam document also points out that these super-rich folks resort to tax-dodging and the use of tax havens to hide their wealth, a practice which the organization says is “fuelling economic inequality and preventing hundreds of millions of people from lifting themselves out of poverty.” It charges that 188 out of the leading 200 multinational corporations have a presence in at least one tax haven and says that it is estimated that US$7.6 trillion sits offshore . If taxes were to be paid on this huge sum, an extra US$190 billion would be available to governments for combatting poverty.

That is the glaring injustice of the world we live in, making a mockery of mathematics, 62= 3.6 billion!