World’s 8 richest as wealthy as half of humanity

DAVOS: Just eight individuals, all men, own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world's population, Oxfam said on Monday in a report calling for action to curtail rewards for those at the top.

The eight individuals named are Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Inditex founder Amancio Ortega, veteran investor Warren Buffett, Mexico's Carlos Slim, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Oracle's Larry Ellison and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

As decision makers and many of the super-rich gather for this week's World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting here, the charity's report suggests the wealth gap is wider than ever, with new data for China and India indicating that the poorest half of the world owns less than previously estimated.

Oxfam, which described the gap as "obscene", said if the new data had been available before, it would have shown that in 2016 nine people owned the same as the 3.6 billion who make up the poorest half of humanity, rather than 62 estimated at the time.

In 2010, by comparison, it took the combined assets of the 43 richest people to equal the wealth of the poorest 50%, according to the latest calculations.

While many workers struggle with stagnating incomes, the wealth of the super-rich has increased by an average of 11% a year since 2009. – Reuters