The combined wealth of the world’s 62 richest individuals was the same as the total wealth of half the world’s population in 2015, according to a report released Monday. It had taken 388 of the world’s richest to reach that mark in 2010, the report added.
Oxfam, an international group of organizations that work to find solutions to poverty, released “An Economy for the 1%." Almost exactly a year ago to the day, Oxfam had predicted on Jan. 19, 2015, that in 2016, the world’s richest 1% would have more than half the world’s wealth.
In October last year, Credit Suisse published the sixth edition of its Global Wealth Report, which estimated that the top percentile of wealth holders owned 50.4 percent of the world’s wealth in 2015. The bank’s report also showed that the richest 5% own more than 75 percent of the world’s wealth and the top 10 percent have about 88 percent of it.
Oxfam used data from the Credit Suisse report to say its prediction came true sooner than it had expected. The Oxfam report claimed that while the richest 62 people added $542 billion to their wealth between 2010 and 2015, the bottom half of the financial pyramid lost about double, just over $1 trillion, in the same period.
The average wealth of each adult member of the richest 1 percent is $1.7 million, over 300 times greater than the wealth of the average person in the poorest 90 percent. Many people in the bottom 10 percent reportedly have zero or negative wealth.
According to the report, salaries of the average worker in the U.S. went up by 10.9 percent from 1978 to 2014, compared with pay rises for CEOs in the country, which grew by 997.2 percent during the same time. To showcase gender-based income discrepancies, the report also pointed out that of the world’s 62 richest individuals, only 9 were women, and there were only 24 women CEOs among the Fortune 500 companies.
The report, published ahead of this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, made an appeal to the business and political leaders gathering there to take steps that would reverse the trend of increasing global inequality, which the report claimed had reached new extremes.
If measures are not taken and the world doesn’t experience “pro-poor growth in the next 15 years,” the report warned that about half a billion people will continue living at income levels below $2 a day.