Nilratan Halder |
Jan. 23, 2020, 10:07 p.m.
Oxfam’s report on global inequalities released just days before the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, once again confirmed that the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. As noted, 2,153 billionaires around the world now have more wealth in their possession than 4.6 billion people, or 60% of the planet’s population. The report finds that inequality is incorrigibly entrenched and so vast in favor of the rich that the number of billionaires has doubled in the past decade.
People have come across similar shocking reports in the past, one of which claimed that only 1% of the people on the planet had 50% of the world’s wealth and the remaining 99% had to make do with the other half of the world. richness. . Yet this equation hardly makes the picture of inequality clear. What has happened since the global economic crisis of 2008 is quite striking: the share of the richest 1.0% after the economic recovery of 2013 is on the rise. In 2016 alone, 2.3 million new dollar millionaires were created, bringing the total to 36 million. At that time, the number of millionaires had increased by three times the figure of 200, according to Credit Swisse.
Since then, nothing has happened to hinder the trend. Even a country like Bangladesh made the news last year to become the fastest growing super-rich or ultra-rich country with at least $ 30 million or Tk 25 billion. This explains why the country’s GDP growth is consistently catapulted to around 8.0 percent.
A knee-jerk reaction by governments around the world to a global economic downturn always favors the rich and the super-rich. At the lowest level of society, capital is physical labor, but it is the rich people who invest in industries and businesses to inject momentum into a dying economy. In return, this privileged class secures its interests well beyond a justified share. In this process, capital gains continue to add in leaps and bounds. Active hands receive only a meager share of the increase in wealth. This is how inequality is now reaching an alarming level. It is so alarming that Oxfam and other civil society organizations and activists have come together under an umbrella called the Fight Inequality Alliance.
Oxfam has not mince words when it comes to tackling inequalities. He suggested “deliberate anti-inequality policies” that governments should pursue in order to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. Bill Gates, who has long been the richest man and now finds himself in second place, advocates the realization of more taxes on capital gains. Indicating the anachronism of taxation between employees and capital gains in America -37% on the former and no more than 20% on the latter – he recommends lowering the high rate of the former and increasing the rate seconds.
In this regard, Oxfam’s calculation is also very significant. He claims that an additional 0.5% tax on just the richest 1% over the next 10 years in the world can bring about a noticeable transformation in areas such as the care of the elderly and children, the education and health. How? ‘Or’ What? The additional tax will equal the investment needed to create 117 million jobs in these sectors. In a rapidly aging world, more caregivers will be in demand in the future, says the organization.
Today, Oxfam’s findings are even more remarkable when they assessed the unpaid care work done by women and girls. They spend 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care each day and the work is worth $ 10.8 trillion a year, more than three times the net worth of the global tech industry. Obviously, this size of unpaid work is directly or indirectly responsible for much of economic growth. Oxfam calls it the “hidden engine” that helps the cogs of economies and businesses evolve in all societies.
Women and girls are the worst victims of the current economic system because their contribution goes unrecognized. Although they spend billions of hours cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the elderly, in most cases they receive no financial reward. This is exactly how the convoluted economic system left the lion’s share of wealth gains to the rich and its cyclical order favors them more, depriving the poor of the opportunity to break out of the poverty trap. Creating superriches at a faster rate does not do economic justice at all and does not promote social integration. Economic policy must be inclusive and, by all means, its main objective must be a rational distribution of wealth with particular emphasis on the elimination of backward and disadvantaged segments of the population.
Governments must therefore invest more in building sufficient infrastructure where the poor can have the opportunity to improve their conditions and standard of living. If the suggestions from Bill Gate and Oxfam are accepted, there should be no problem finding the money.