The growing concentration of the world’s wealth has been highlighted by a report showing that the 26 richest billionaires own as many assets as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the planet’s population.
In an annual wealth check released to mark the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the development charity Oxfam said 2018 had been a year in which the rich had grown richer and the poor poorer.
It said the widening gap was hindering the fight against poverty, adding that a 1% wealth tax would raise an estimated $418bn (£325bn) a year – enough to educate every child not in school and provide healthcare that would prevent 3 million deaths.
Oxfam said the wealth of more than 2,200 billionaires across the globe had increased by $900bn in 2018 – or $2.5bn a day. The 12% increase in the wealth of the very richest contrasted with a fall of 11% in the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population.
The 26 richest billionaires are: Jeff Bezos (U.S.); Bill Gates (U.S.); Warren Buffett (U.S.); Bernard Arnault (France); Mark Zuckerberg (U.S.); Amancio Ortega (Spain); Carlos Slim Helu (Mexico); Charles Koch (U.S.); David Koch (U.S.); Larry Ellison (U.S.); Michael Bloomberg (U.S.); Larry Page (U.S.); Sergey Brin (U.S.); Jim Walton (U.S.); S. Robson Walton (U.S.); Alice Walton (U.S.); Ma Huateng (China); Francoise Bettencourt Meyers (France); Mukesh Ambani (India); Jack Ma (China); Sheldon Adelson (U.S.); Steve Ballmer (U.S.); Li Ka-shing (Hong Kong); Hui Ka Yan (China); Lee Shau Kee (Hong Kong); Wang Jianlin (China) (Source: Forbes)