The world's richest 1% will own more than the other 99% by next year, Oxfam has warned.
The anti-poverty charity has issued this stark message on growing inequality as world leaders in politics and business prepare to meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.
A research paper suggests the wealthiest 1% have seen their share of global assets rise from 44% in 2009 to 48% last year - with an average worth of 2.7 million dollars (£1.8m) each. The figure is on track to exceed 50% this year.
Below the richest fifth, 80% of the world's population own just 5.5% of wealth - an average of 3,851 dollars (£2,500) each.
Oxfam International executive director Winnie Byanyima said: "Do we really want to live in a world where the 1% own more than the rest of us combined? The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.
"In the past 12 months we have seen world leaders from President Obama to Christine Lagarde talk more about tackling extreme inequality but we are still waiting for many of them to walk the walk. It is time our leaders took on 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. The poor are hurt twice by rising inequality - they get a smaller share of the economic pie and because extreme inequality hurts growth, there is less pie to be shared around."
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