A new report found that the world’s 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than 4.6 billion people, underscoring the degree of global inequality.
The Oxfam International study, released Monday and dubbed “Time to Care,” shows that the number of billionaires has doubled in the past decade. The authors add that these fortunes have largely been amassed while everyday people, especially poor women, continue to struggle.
“The gap between rich and poor can’t be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies, and too few governments are committed to these,” Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar said in a press statement. “Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of ordinary men and women. No wonder people are starting to question whether billionaires should even exist.”
The report finds that women are most impacted by the growing equality gap — the 22 richest men in the world have more money than all the women in Africa, for example. Also, 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work is done by women and girls every day, which contributes $10.8 trillion dollars a year to the global economy, the report found. Women also do more than three-quarters of all unpaid care work and make up two-thirds of the paid ‘care workforce,” Oxfam said.
Governments are not taxing the wealthiest people or corporations enough, the report argues. Oxfam found that if the world’s richest one percent had to pay an extra 0.5 in taxes over the next 10 years, that would be equal to the investment that is needed to add over 100 million jobs in workforces like health, education and childcare.
“Governments must prioritize care as being as important as all other sectors in order to build more human economies that work for everyone, not just a fortunate few,” Behar said.