Oxfam: Economic inequality is ‘out of control’

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Jan. 20 (UPI) — Global economic inequality “is out of control,” Oxfam International said Monday while calling on the international community to adopt policies to break up its “flawed and sexist economic system.”

The non-profit organization said that all 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than a combined 4.6 billion people or 60 percent of the world’s population, blaming this disparity on an economic system that values the work of a privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of women and girls who perform essential jobs for either little or no pay.

The findings come in its annual report, “Time to Care,” published Monday ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where world leaders will congregate this week to discuss the future of industry.

“The gap between rich and poor can’t be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies, and too few governments are committed to these,” Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar said in a statement calling on the international community to do more to equalize the economy. “Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of ordinary men and women.”

Among the report’s key findings are that the 22 richest men in the world have more wealth than all the women in Africa and women and girls put in 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work a day, equaling some $10.8 trillion to the global economy.

The 63-page report says governments are “massively” under taxing their wealthiest citizens and corporations, failing to collect revenue that could help lift the responsibility of care work from women while tackling poverty and inequality.

It said an increased tax of 0.5 percent on the wealthiest 1 percent of people over the next decade would equal the investment needed to create 117 million jobs in sectors such as elderly and child care, education and health.

Simultaneously, governments are also underfunding public services and infrastructure that would reduce the workload of women and girls, it said.

“Governments created the inequality crisis — they must act not to end it,” Behar said. “They must ensure corporations and wealthy individuals pay their fair share of tax and increase investment in public services and infrastructure.”

“They must pass laws to tackle the huge amount of care work done by women and girls, and ensure that people who do some of the most important jobs in our society — caring for our parents, our children and the most vulnerable — are paid a living wage,” Behar said.