THE BLOG

Richest 1% to Earn more than Other 99%

23/01/2015 10:10 GMT | Updated 23/03/2015 09:59 GMT

A recent report published by Oxfam and extensively covered in the media warns that global inequality is increasing and the gap between the richest and the poorest is set to continue to grow at surprising rates.

According to the report, by next year, the wealth accumulated by the world's richest 1% will exceed that of the other 99%. The same 1% have seen their assets rise from 44% in 2009, to 48% last year and this is set to increase again to over 50% by the end of this year.

So is it right that so few of the world's people account for so much of the wealth and assets across the globe? Should we be taking further measures to combat this inequality and bridge the wealth gap? How do we go about tackling this inequality? Where do we begin?

Globally, there is a growing focus on the state of global inequality and calls for the wealthy to help resolve the problem are growing ever louder. The eye opening report was released by Oxfam ahead of this year's World Economic Forum, which is set to be held in Davos, Switzerland. This summit will be used by the charity to call for new measures to tackle global inequality, including an enforced clampdown on tax evasion and a fair living wage for all workers.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, states in the report that, "it is time that our leaders took on a the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world. Business as usual for the elite isn't a cost-free option - failure to tackle inequality will set the fight against poverty back decades."

But does this mean for those of us who, may not be in the top 1%, but have certainly earned our fair share of wealth?

French economist Thomas Piketty argued in his book, Capital in the 21st Century, that a global tax on capital would help governments better understand how wealth is distributed and stem the tide of increasing inequality.

As a man that has worked hard my whole life, I am very proud of the things that I own, the things that I have earned, and the things that I have achieved. That's not to say that I think its right that people are starving, homeless, and suffering but I shouldn't have to feel guilty about my own success. I have worked hard, taken risks, and made sacrifices to get where I am today.

If someone earns their money in a fair, legal, and moral way, why should they have their wealth taken from them and used for the good of society? After all, it is the rich who employ millions of people and, in many ways, keep the country going. Many jobs are created by the wealthy and, without the super rich, we would in fact all be poorer.

Whilst there is undoubtedly a huge and growing problem of inequality across the globe that needs addressing, is punishing those who have earned their wealth, really the best way to do this?