Tuesday

3rd May 2016

British charity attacks billionaires ahead of Davos forum

As the world's richest and most powerful men and women prepare to meet in the Swiss resort of Davos for the annual World Economic Forum on Wednesday (22 January), the British development charity, Oxfam, has issued a new report on global inequality.

According to its findings, the wealth of the world's 85 richest people - €81.2 trillion - amounts to that of the poorest half of the world population, or 3.5 billion people.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Davos: The world's richest and most powerful people are meeting on Wednesday (Photo: World Economic Forum)

Polls for Oxfam in six countries (Brazil, India, South Africa, Spain, the UK and US) show that most people questioned believe that laws are skewed in favour of the rich.

Oxfam also estimated that €15.5 trillion of the wealth is hidden from the taxman in offshore accounts, at a time when governments are cutting public spending.

"In Europe, austerity has been imposed on the poor and middle classes under huge pressure from financial markets whose wealthy investors have benefited from state bailouts of financial institutions," the charity said.

Financial deregulation in the US has contributed to the situation, in which the richest one percent of the population has more money than ever since 1933.

Billionaires in India are also 10 times more numerous than in 2004, helped by tax breaks and political connections, while spending on the country's poorest remains low.

Meanwhile, tax avoidance by EU and US corporations in Africa is depriving its governments from resources which could be used to fight poverty.

The charity said Davos participants should reverse the trend and pledge to support higher taxes for the rich, while refraining from using their wealth to seek political favours.

Davos organisers have a slightly different take on the world's most pressing issues, however.

The official topic of this year's World Economic Forum, which often attracts criticism for its pompous language, is "the reshaping of the world."

"Profound political, economic, social and, above all, technological forces are transforming our lives, communities and institutions," its agenda says.

A power shift from "traditional hierarchies" to "networked heterarchies" is taking place, it adds: "Yet the international community remains focused on crisis rather than [being] strategically driven in the face of the trends, drivers and opportunities pushing global, regional and industrial transformation."

Among listed speakers are the Crown Prince of Saudia Arabia, the vice-chairman of Google and Bono, the lead singer of Irish music band U2.

News in Brief

  1. Delays as Brussels airport reopens terminal
  2. MEPs urge extra sanctions on Russian officials
  3. Poland's right-wing leader wants constitutional overhaul
  4. Don't silence media, Council of Europe tells countries
  5. Eurostat: 88,300 lone minors among refugees
  6. EU unemployment lowest in seven years
  7. Nord Stream II will undermine EU security, EPP leader says
  8. Brussels Airport reopens departure hall after attack

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Music CouncilRegister Now for the 6th European Forum on Music in Wroclaw, European Capital of Culture 2016
  2. Belgrade Security ForumJoin Our Team for the 6th Belgrade Security Forum. Apply Now! Deadline May 20
  3. European Roundtable of IndustrialistsCompanies Make Progress on Number of Women in Leadership Roles
  4. Counter BalanceParliament Gets Tough on Control EU Bank's Funds
  5. ICRCSyria: Aleppo on the Brink of Humanitarian Disaster
  6. CESIWorld Day For Health and Safety at Work: Public Sector Workers in The Focus
  7. EFABasque Peace Process-Arnaldo Otegi Visits the European Parliament
  8. EscardioChina Pays Price of Western Lifestyle With Soaring Childhood Obesity
  9. Centre Maurits CoppetiersThe Existence of a State is a Question of Fact, Not a Question of Law
  10. Martens CentreJoin Us at The Event: Prospects For EU Enlargement After 2019
  11. ICRCSyria: Aid for Over 120,000 People Arrives in Besieged Town Near Homs
  12. Counter BalanceHighway to Hell: European Money Fuelling Controversial Infrastructure Projects

Latest News

  1. EU refutes Greenpeace's 'storm in teacup' on US trade
  2. Empty Gazpromises
  3. Russia wary as Nordic states mull closer Nato ties
  4. EU advances Turkey visa deal amid migration fears
  5. German populist party adopts anti-Islam manifesto
  6. TTIP leaks: US undermining EU standards, says Greenpeace
  7. Visas, economy and Charlemagne Prize This WEEK
  8. EU roaming charge cut enters UK referendum campaign