Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos along with his girlfriend arrives for a gathering with the Bollywood industry during his visit to Mumbai on Thursday.
Party time for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and girlfriend at an event hosted by India's Bollywood stars in Mumbai. Being the richest person in the world also helps. Image Credit: ANI

London (Bloomberg): The world’s richest 1 per cent have more than twice the wealth of the rest of humanity combined, according to Oxfam, which called on governments to adopt “inequality-busting policies”.

In a report published ahead of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, the UK-based charity said governments are “massively under-taxing” rich individuals and corporations, and under-funding public services.

“Economic inequality is out of control,” with 2,153 billionaires having more wealth than 4.6 billion people in 2019, it said.

“Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of ordinary men and women,” said Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar. “No wonder people are starting to question whether billionaires should even exist.”

The Top 3

The world’s three richest people amassed a total of $231 billion over the past decade. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg - the fifth-richest person in the world - had the highest boost last year, with a net gain of about $6 billion. Inc CEO Jeff Bezos still claims the top spot with a net worth of $116 billion.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg has not done too badly either, pocketing $6 billion last year, according to Oxfam.

The total wealth of the top 20 billionaires has doubled from $672 billion to $1,397 billion since 2012, according to Bloomberg Wealth. An individual who saved $10,000 a day since the construction of Egypt’s pyramids would still only have a fifth of the average fortune of the world’s top five, Oxfam said.

Some criticism too

Oxfam’s critics have dismissed the headline inequality statistics as misleading and suggest that they drastically overstate the scale of the problem. The organization has repeatedly defended its analysis and challenged such accusations.

The charity’s annual statistics rely on Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth report, which Oxfam itself said suffers from poor quality of data and may even underestimate the scale of wealth disparities.