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Income inequality shows the 1% will soon own 50% of all wealth, says Oxfam

CBC Radio / The Current

In a week where the U.S. President has signaled new taxes and fees on the wealthiest American individuals and corporations and where the financially and politically powerful meet in Davos, Oxfam is warning of growing inequality across the globe. Today we look at the implications of counting up the haves and have-nots. 

 

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Last night president Barack Obama acknowledged the perils of income inequality in his United States. For the rest of the world, many hope income inequality will find its way onto the agenda of the world's power brokers gathering today in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum.

And, armed with some eye-popping new statistics, Oxfam timed the release of a wealth-gap report this week to get maximum attention there.

According to the UK-based charity, soon just 80 individuals will have in their hands the same wealth as half-of-the-rest-of-the-world, combined. And the prognosis is for that enormous wealth gap, to just keep on growing.

John Young is the director of outreach for Oxfam Canada.

Not all economists will agree with Oxfam's reading of the world's inequality. And some may say that looking at wealth concentration is only looking at one part of a more complicated puzzle.

Ben Southwood is the Head of Research with the Adam Smith Institute in London, England, a libertarian free market public policy think-tank.

We've been talking about inequality on a global scale, but recent stats suggest that a similar trend is underway here in Canada, with a growing gap between the few who have a lot, and the many who have much less.

Andrew Jackson is a Senior Policy Advisor at the Broadbent Institute.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sarah Grant, Naheed Mustafa and Julian Uzielli.