World

Eight men, including Bill Gates, as rich as half the world

Just eight individuals - all men - own as much wealth as the poorer half of the world's population, Oxfam said yesterday in a report.

As many of the super-rich gather for this week's World Economic Forum in Davos, the charity suggested that the wealth gap is wider than ever, with new data for China and India indicating that the poorer half of the world owns less than previously estimated.

Oxfam said if the new data had been available before, it would have shown that last year, nine people owned the same as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorer half of humanity, rather than the 62 estimated at the time.

In 2010, by comparison, it took the assets of the 43 richest people to equal the wealth of the poorer half, according to the latest calculations.

Oxfam called for a crackdown on tax dodging and a shift away from "super-charged" shareholder capitalism, which pays out disproportionately to the rich.

STAGNATING INCOMES

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

The eight named were Microsoft co-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. - REUTERS

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