Oxfam Report

2richestSouth Africa remains the most unequal country in the world with the two richest South Africans (Johann Rupert and Nicky Oppenheimer, according to Forbes) having wealth equal to the poorest 50 percent (I.e. 26.5-million people) of the country, according to an Oxfam global inequality report.

Some other claims made by Oxfam:

  • Only 360 of highest earners in South Africa pay their fair share of taxes.
  • Inequality in South Africa is worse today than at the end of Apartheid.
  • R350-billion flows out of South Africa illegally through corporations.
  • Land reform is increasing inequality and about 35 000 farmers create 80 percent of all produce. A few large corporations have a massive influence.
  • Unemployment is biggest driver of poverty in South Africa. Poverty is most severe amongst the elderly, young adults and children.
  • One in four South Africans right now are hungry with nothing to eat.

According to another study published by Oxfam just 1 percent of the world’s population controls nearly half of the planet’s wealth.

The study says this tiny slice of humanity controls $110 trillion, or 65 times the total wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion people.

Other key findings in the report:

  • The world’s 85 richest people own as much as the poorest 50 percent of humanity.
  • 70 percent of the world’s people live in a country where income inequality has increased in the past three decades.
  • In the U.S., where the gap between rich and poor has grown at a faster rate than any other developed country, the top 1 percent captured 95 percent of post-recession growth (since 2009), while 90 percent of Americans became poorer.

“Oxfam is concerned that, left unchecked, the effects are potentially immutable, and will lead to ‘opportunity capture’ — in which the lowest tax rates, the best education, and the best healthcare are claimed by the children of the rich,” the relief agency writes. “This creates dynamic and mutually reinforcing cycles of advantage that are transmitted across generations.”

In other words, Oxfam says that if trends continue, the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer.

“[People] are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown,” the report says.

Click here to read Even it Up, Oxfam’s report on extreme inequality or here to read another Oxfam report on inequality entitled Working for the Few”.