Eight Men Own As Much Wealth As Half The World's Population

Illustrated By Tristan Offit.
For years, we've recognized that there's a huge global imbalance between the rich and the poor. But according to a new Oxfam report, that recognition hasn't resulted in change. Instead, the gap is widening.

Eight men now have as much money as the bottom half of the global population. The top 1% of the world continues to control more money than the other 99% put together.

Moreover, the rich have seen a disproportionate increase in wealth over the past few decades. The top 1% saw gains 182 times the size of the bottom 10% from 1988-2011. "Had growth been pro-poor between 1990 and 2010, 700 million more people, most of them women, would not be living in poverty today," the report reads.

That all eight of the people controlling the wealth are men is linked, by the report, to workplace sexism, the wage gap, and other gender-based injustices.

"Women also disproportionately face the threat of violence throughout their lives, including in the workplace," it reads. "One in three women worldwide experience sexual violence from an intimate partner at some point in their lives, and women are at much more risk from human trafficking and sexual extortion in the workplace. Economies exploit, rather than challenge these social norms, and so gender inequality intersects with economic inequality, resulting in women being disproportionately represented at the lower end of the economic distribution."

Lack of access to reproductive healthcare can also contribute to overpopulation and, consequently, poverty for women, which is one reason many are fighting to keep Planned Parenthood in existence.

Many of these problems can be reduced and ending poverty is possible. The report recommends eliminating government corruption, increasing taxes for the rich, clamping down on tax-dodging, increasing access to technology, and supporting sustainable businesses.

"It is simple common sense that having all this money in too few hands is harmful to our society and to our future," it reads. "We can and must build a more human economy before it is too late."
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