Just before the annual gathering of the global elites last January (at the Swiss mountain resort of Davos), the anti-poverty charity Oxfam released an eye-opening report that showed the world’s 85 richest billionaires hold as much wealth as 3.5 billion of humanity’s poorest half. That shocking statistic quickly went globally viral. Now there's a new report.
Last week the 72-year-old organization launched a new campaign called "Even It Up" with a new 136-page report showing that the combined wealth of the world’s top 85 multi-billionaires is increasing at the rate of a half million dollars a minute.
The reports says: “Oxfam’s decades of experience in the world’s poorest communities have taught us that poverty and inequality are not inevitable or accidental, but the result of deliberate policy choices.”
Of their many recommendations, the Even It Up campaign called on governments to start taxing financial transactions and to clamp down on offshore tax havens. In 2013, Oxfam estimated that the world was losing $156 billion a year in tax revenue as a result of wealthy individuals hiding their assets in offshore tax havens (usually islands).
In other areas — such as taxing wealth — Oxfam is recommending a 1.5 percent tax on individual wealth above $1 billion. Oxfam calculates that would raise enough money to fill the annual gaps in funding needed to get every child into school and to deliver health services to the world’s poorest countries.
Some of Oxfam’s other recommendations also target the engine of inequality: the modern multinational corporation. Even It Up urges governments to steer procurement contracts to companies that pay their top executives no more than 20 times the pay that goes to their typical workers.
Oxfam UK chief Mark Goldring says, "Governments around the world have been guilty of a naive faith that wealth going to those at the top will automatically benefit everyone. That’s not true."
In other words, trickle down doesn't. In the meantime, these mega-rich people have been divorcing themselves from the rest of humanity entirely by buying their own private islands.
In their latest issue of the Candy GPS Report (produced in partnership with Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management), they write:
"We focus on island real estate around the world. Surrounded by water and finite in number, islands encapsulate much of what is desired by ultra-high-net-worth individuals. They are both exclusive and rare, where the best properties carry a significant price premium over their mainland counterparts. Our research looks in depth at these markets and pinpoints the hot spots around the globe. We also look at the sustainability of these islands and the rise of private planes that are putting them within easy reach."
Such as the new $100 million Aerion AS2 private jet, which will seat 11 elitists and provide the ultra-mega-wealthy with a deluxe dining room and shower facilities. The supersonic plane will take just four hours to cross the Atlantic from New York to London. This may suffice for the time being, until some day, the mega-rich can completely isolate themselves by living on another planet — when Virgin Galactic isn't just sending them into lower Earth orbit for "kicks" at $250,000 a pop (or about 30 seconds of income for some people).
As an aside: Hedge fund multi-billionaire Bill Ackman just bought a penthouse that tops Manhattan’s newest tower: the 90-story One57 for a cost of $90 million — an all-time record for a New York condo. In the meantime, the apartment will go vacant until he can flip it for a profit. Although, Ackman told the New York Times, he might hold a few parties there.
In other words, trickle down doesn't. But many Americans still naively believe it does, and today they will AGAIN vote for more of the same — because "marketing, media and money can get any entire population to vote against their own interests."