Extreme inequality — the gap between the rich and the poor — is rising and threatening to undo the progress made in tackling poverty over the past 20 years.
The inequality crisis is far bigger than we had feared – today, just 8 men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity.
This concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few robs the poorest people of the support they need to improve their lives, and means that their voices go unheard.
Growing inequality is bad for us all. It undermines economic growth and leads to more social conflict.
What is causing rising inequality?
Unsurprisingly, there are a number of things driving inequality. But it boils down to economic policies and practices that favour those who hold the wealth and help them to hold and grow that wealth.
These policies and practices have often been driven by the very multinational companies and mega rich individuals who most benefit, due to the influence their wealth and power allows them to have over politics.
What can we do to rebalance our world?
The good news is that extreme inequality is not inevitable. This dangerous trend can be reversed.
Governments can act individually and together to change the rules so they work for the many, not the few.
Companies can take steps to become more transparent and fair in the way the manage and report their profits. And we can all act to demand action and hold both governments and companies to account.
- Find out how you can help make tax fair.
- Discover what’s driving inequality and access Oxfam’s inequality reports.