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The report was published on Monday to coincide with the Jan. 23 start of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in the snow-covered town of Davos, Switzerland. “(The report) reveals how our economies are rewarding wealth rather than the hard work of millions of people,” Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam’s executive director, told Reuters. “The few at the top get richer and richer and the millions at the bottom are trapped in poverty wages.”
The report also found that the three richest people in the U.S. own the same amount as the bottom half of America’s population. And while billionaire wealth rose by 13% a year from 2006-2015, ordinary workers saw their incomes rise by an average of 2% a year.
The number of people living in extreme poverty has halved between 1990 and 2010, but according to the charity, “had inequality within countries not grown during that period, an extra 200 million people would have escaped poverty.”
Oxfam says its figures, which have been criticized by some commentators for being ideologically motivated, show that economic rewards were “increasingly” concentrated at the top of society. It blamed the erosion of worker’s rights, tax evasion and cost-cutting for the widening inequality gap.