The wealth gap keeps growing as the world's richest get richer at the expense of the poor, according to a new study released this week by an alliance of major organizations.
The World Wealth Report from Oxfam, Greenpeace, and other groups found that while the total number of millionaires in the world jumped to 15.4 million—up by nearly 5 million since 2009—more than 702 million people remain in poverty around the globe.
"For every person with more than $30 million, there are over 4800 people living in extreme poverty," said Jenny Ricks of the Fight Inequality Alliance. "This gross inequality is a symptom of an unjust and unfair economic system that allows the rich to get richer at the expense of the poor."
Some of the findings include:
- Global HNWI [High Net Worth Individual] wealth expanded fourfold over the last 20 years to reach US$58.7 trillion in 2015.
- Against the backdrop of growing inequality in many countries, Asia-Pacific surpassed North America to become the region with the largest amount of HNWI wealth. Faltering growth in the Americas has slowed the overall rate of HNWI wealth expansion.
- Japan and China are the engines of both Asia-Pacific and global growth.
- Global HNWI wealth is projected to surpass US$100 trillion by 2025.
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The figures were compiled by the wealth management group Capgemini. The report also notes that the firm "failed to predict" the global response to rising inequality and the disparities exposed by the Panama Papers, which revealed how global leaders use offshore tax havens to hide their wealth, and other similar scandals.
As TeleSUR notes, "the issue of inequality accounted for 7 percent of global protests over a seven year period, according to a 2013 study conducted by the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University."
And it's no wonder. Ricks continued, "Last year the wealth of the richest totalled $58.7 trillion, which is over 150 times the size of the economies of all of the world’s poorest countries combined. This shows the extent money and power are concentrated in the hands of the wealthiest few."
"The global inequality crisis is undermining the struggle for a fairer and more sustainable world, trampling on the rights of women, workers, and the poorest families," she said.
The findings were published just days before the UK voted to leave the European Union—making the report's final message hard to swallow as the alliance called on global leaders to "reverse cuts to public spending, privatization, tax breaks for the wealthy, and the race to the bottom on human rights."