According to a new report from Oxfam, the wealth and income that the world's richest people accumulated last year would be enough to eliminate world poverty four times over. Ben Phillips, a campaign director at Oxfam, said that extreme wealth is now one of the major obstacles to solving the problems of extreme poverty. The $240 billion the top 100 billionaires in the world made in 2012 would completely eliminate extreme poverty, the report concludes.
Oxfam also calls for numerous solutions for tackling extreme poverty:
"Concentration of resources in the hands of the top 1 percent depresses economic activity and makes life harder for everyone else—particularly those at the bottom of the economic ladder," said Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfam's executive director.
"We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many—too often the reverse is true," he said. "In a world where even basic resources such as land and water are increasingly scarce, we cannot afford to concentrate assets in the hands of a few and leave the many to struggle over what’s left."
"From tax havens to weak employment laws, the richest benefit from a global economic system, which is rigged in their favor. It is time our leaders reformed the system so that it works in the interests of the whole of humanity rather than a global elite."
In addition, Barbara Stocking, Oxfam's chief executive, says the world's extremity of wealth inequality is "economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive."
Oxfam is calling for a 'new global deal,' which would stabilize the world's economic systems and bring equality back in way that would benefit all humanity.
Closing tax loopholes could generate nearly $200 billion in additional revenue, the report says. Other options for reducing extreme poverty include: "a reversal of the trend toward more regressive forms of taxation; a global minimum corporation tax rate; measures to boost wages compared with returns available to capital; increased investment in free public services and safety nets."