Oxfam International Blogs - extreme inequality http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/extreme-inequality en European elections 2019: A European spring for citizens worldwide? http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-05-01-european-elections-2019-european-spring-citizens-worldwide <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>The Head of our EU office&nbsp;</strong></em><em><strong>explains why this spring's EU elections are so critical right now, and shares her hope that they will help the EU flourish and provide better policies for citizens in Europe and beyond.</strong></em></p><p>Europe is not flourishing this spring.</p><p>The European Union is beset by <a href="https://www.politico.eu/article/europes-populist-contagion-vaccines-infectious-diseases/" rel="nofollow">baying populism</a>, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2019/may/01/uk-house-prices-manufacturing-brexit-us-federal-reserve-business-live" rel="nofollow">Brexit</a>, and a faltering economic model which bred an inequality crisis.</p><p>Come the May elections, will the Union succumb to internal strife and selfishness, turning its back on Europe’s and the world’s citizens, or will the elections mark a period of regrowth and renewal for the European project?</p><p>It is vital that European leaders address the main challenges of our time, namely economic and gender inequality as well the crisis of climate change.</p><p><strong>Restoring faith by proving valuable</strong></p><p>As a European citizen, I am hopeful. The European Union was founded as a political project of peace, prosperity and democracy. Despite significant problems, it is still an important political force in the promotion of these values – both in Europe and the rest of the world.</p><p>But during these recent years of political turmoil and polarisation, the founding values of the Union, as well as the very value of the Union itself, are increasingly under attack. The benefits of international cooperation are in question, and countries within and beyond Europe are adopting <a href="https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/far-rightists-could-test-dutch-loyalty-to-european-project-1.3875325" rel="nofollow">nationalist</a>, <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/canada-s-flood-map-failures-jeopardy-s-new-champ-so-long-payless-shoes-and-more-1.5110560/a-far-right-party-is-poised-for-a-breakthrough-in-spain-s-elections-for-the-first-time-since-franco-1.5110632" rel="nofollow">isolationist</a> and short-sighted policies that do not serve the long-term interests of their citizens.</p><p>Rather than confront the impact of <a href="https://www.socialeurope.eu/the-sustainability-imperative" rel="nofollow">policies which led European citizens to lose faith</a> – austerity measures, increasing privatisation of basic services and a widening gap between the rich and the rest – the EU has responded by <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/can-europe-remain-global-player-while-turns-inwards-winnie-byanyima/" rel="nofollow">turning inwards</a>, and allowing its policies to be dictated by the political agendas of a few member states.</p><p>This spring, I am hoping that European politicians will turn away from these policies and damaging narratives of the recent years.</p><p><img alt="Climate march, Belgium, 2014. Photo: Oxfam" title="Climate march, Belgium, 2014. Photo: Oxfam" height="340" width="680" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/climate_march_belgium-2014.jpg" /></p><p><strong>Fighting injustice, poverty and climate change</strong></p><p>The challenges confronting our people and planet are critical.</p><p>We need a Union that takes responsibility for the future of our shared world, serves the interests of ordinary people and tackles inequality, climate change and the realisation of women’s rights head on.</p><p>The May 2019 elections are a chance to breathe new life into <a href="https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/articles/news/udo-bullmann-eu-elections-%E2%80%98crucial-future-european-project%E2%80%99" rel="nofollow">the European project</a> and restore the faith of citizens by reviving the EU founding values of solidarity, peace and justice.</p><p>Right now, we live in a world where <a href="https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/09/19/decline-of-global-extreme-poverty-continues-but-has-slowed-world-bank" rel="nofollow">736 million people are living in extreme poverty</a>, and 65 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes. Meanwhile, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/5-shocking-facts-about-extreme-global-inequality-and-how-even-it-davos" rel="nofollow">26 people own the same amount of wealth</a> as the poorest half of the world.</p><p>As economic growth continues to benefit a small number of rich people, the rest of society suffers, and the world’s poorest are hit the hardest – especially women and girls.</p><p>Climate change is threatening all people and our entire planet, with the richest doing the most damage while the poorest suffer the consequences.</p><p>We need European leaders to prioritise addressing these challenges.</p><p>They must ensure that more and better aid assists the world’s poorest and those in crises, develop a fair and effective asylum system, implement ambitious climate policies, and fight inequality through progressive taxation, investment in quality public services and renewed support for labour rights.</p><p><strong>A Union of true solidarity</strong></p><p>Europe needs visionary political leadership which goes beyond short-sighted and self-interested policies.</p><p>In the next parliamentary term, European politicians and policy makers must focus on improving the lot of our shared humanity, demonstrating solidarity within Europe and beyond.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.europarl.europa.eu/portal/en" rel="nofollow">upcoming election</a> is a vital opportunity to restore trust in the EU and the benefits of global cooperation.</p><p>This requires candidates uniting behind a European agenda of fairness, equality and solidarity – for the benefit of all citizens.</p><p><strong>To learn more about Oxfam’s recommendations for key priorities to be addressed by European Political Parties in the next European term, have a look at “<a href="https://oxfam.app.box.com/v/EUelections2019" rel="nofollow">European Elections 2019: Oxfam Submission to Party Manifestos</a>”.</strong></p><p><em>This entry posted on 1 May 2019, by Marissa Ryan, Deputy Director of Advocacy &amp; Campaigns and Head of Oxfam’s EU office.</em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p><p></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>European elections 2019: A European spring for citizens worldwide?</h2></div> Wed, 01 May 2019 11:26:45 +0000 Guest Blogger 81950 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-05-01-european-elections-2019-european-spring-citizens-worldwide#comments Seven brilliant questions you asked about Oxfam’s Inequality report http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-01-23-seven-brilliant-questions-you-asked-about-oxfam-inequality-report <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Oxfam’s new <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/public-good-or-private-wealth" rel="nofollow">inequality report</a>, which reveals that billionaires’ fortunes grew by $2.5 billion a day last year, as poorest half of humanity – 3.8 billion people – saw their wealth fall, is making headlines around the globe. Since we launched, we have received lots questions. Here’s our response to seven of the most frequently asked questions.</strong></p><h3>1. Why is Oxfam attacking billionaires – they are talented entrepreneurs who create jobs and wealth. Billionaires such as Bill Gates have even given millions to charity.</h3><p><span>Oxfam is not anti-wealth but anti-poverty. We shine a spotlight on the billionaires growing wealth to highlight the problem with our broken economic system. Our economies enable a small number of people to accumulate unimaginable wealth while paying relatively little tax, even as vital public services such as healthcare and education are crumbling for want of funds. This doesn’t make sense.</span></p><p>It’s true that some billionaires have created vast business empires from nothing – and created jobs and prosperity for themselves and others. However this is not true of all of them. Oxfam estimates that two thirds of billionaire wealth is inherited or tainted with monopoly or cronyism. Equally not all billionaires ensure their workers get a <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/reward-work-not-wealth" rel="nofollow">fair share of the profits</a> from their businesses by for example paying a living wage.</p><p>It’s also true some billionaires such as Bill Gates are using their wealth to help others – and they should be congratulated. But charitable giving does not replace a company or individual's responsibility to pay their fair share of tax. And many wealthy people agree with us - <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/21/bill-gates-has-paid-10-billion-in-taxes-and-says-he-should-pay-more.html" rel="nofollow">Bill Gates says</a> the first responsibility of the super-rich is to pay their taxes and Warren Buffet has been calling for higher taxes for the super-rich.</p><p><img alt="Chart: Declining tax rates" title="Chart: Declining tax rates" height="530" width="700" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/declining-tax-rates.png" /></p><h3>2. Isn’t capitalism working – the global economy is growing, and poverty is declining?</h3><p>The number of people living in extreme poverty – on less than $1.90 a day – has been falling globally. This is something to be celebrated. However, the rate at which extreme poverty is falling is slowing and <a href="https://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/number-extremely-poor-people-continues-rise-sub-saharan-africa" rel="nofollow">in some parts of the world</a><span> the number of people living in extreme poverty is actually rising.</span></p><p>But this is only part of the story. Almost half of humanity is still living on less than $5.50 a day. They are not living in extreme poverty but they are still very poor – struggling to keep their heads above water and just one medical bill away from extreme poverty. It’s this much bigger group of poor people who are seeing their wealth decline.</p><p><strong>The problem is that the benefits of economic growth, of wealth generation, are not shared equally.</strong> Wealth created in today’s economies is captured by those who are already wealthy, and the poorest in society see little benefit. That is why billionaire fortunes increased by 12 percent last year – or $2.5 billion a day - while the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity saw their wealth decline by 11 percent.</p><p>In short our economies are broken. That is why Oxfam is calling for governments to build new economies that work for everyone and not just a privileged few.</p><h3>3. Aren’t low taxes a good thing? Won’t raising taxes will put a break on economic growth and job creation?</h3><p>The idea that low taxes for the wealthy is good for economic growth and job creation has been widely questioned. Even the <a href="https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/FM/Issues/2017/10/05/fiscal-monitor-october-2017" rel="nofollow">International Monetary Fund are saying</a><span> that there is ample scope for redistribution without hurting economic development</span></p><p><strong>It simply does not make sense that the tax bills for the very richest people</strong> and corporations are systematically lowered while vital public services such as healthcare and education – that benefit society as a whole - are struggling for want of funds. We need more schools – not more super yachts.</p><h3>4. What’s wrong with private schools and private healthcare. Public healthcare and education is very poor quality in many countries – private services give people an alternative?</h3><p>Lack of investment in public services does mean the quality of education and healthcare they provide is very poor in many countries. However, the solution to this problem is to invest more in public services – not outsource to the private sector.</p><p><strong>The private sector doesn’t deliver for the poorest in society</strong> because there is little incentive for private companies to provide services for people who can’t afford to pay for them. Moreover, private healthcare and education providers are often subsidized by governments, which means public money is often diverted to serve the needs of the wealthiest in society – at the expense of the poorest. For example, a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/07/lesotho-health-budget-private-consortium-hospital" rel="nofollow">public–private initiative to build a hospital in Lesotho</a> ended up consuming, as much as 51 percent of the countries total health budget in 2014 – depriving clinics in rural areas of much needed funds.</p><p>Only by investing in free universal public health and education services can governments deliver good-quality healthcare and education for all.</p><p><img alt="Graphic: Access to basic services" title="Graphic: Access to basic services" height="318" width="700" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="6" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/water-and-electricity-cropped.png" /></p><h3>5. Oxfam’s calculations are wrong – the data has holes in it and the way wealth is calculated means people on high incomes but lots of debts are counted amongst the worlds poorest?</h3><p><span>Oxfam bases its calculations on the best data available at the time – Credit Suisse’s annual Global Wealth Report and the annual Forbes Billionaires list. Of course the data is not perfect – the quality of data available varies from country to country but it is being improved and expanded every year.</span></p><p><strong>One of the big problems is that the very rich often hide their wealth offshore</strong> to avoid tax – which means that their fortunes are likely to be significantly underestimating. Despite these problems, most experts agree the data is good enough and provides a relatively accurate overview of how wealth is distributed globally.</p><p><img alt="Graphic: Rich people are hiding their wealth offshore." title="Graphic: Rich people are hiding their wealth offshore." height="347" width="700" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/rich-people-are-hiding-wealth-offshore.png" /></p><p>It is equally true to say that the way wealth is calculated means people who are high earners with large debts – such as graduates with big loans – are placed in the same category as people who are very poor. However this is a tiny fraction of people globally and has little impact on the figures.</p><p><strong>The vast majority of people at the bottom fifty percent are very poor people</strong> who are really struggling to get by. Those who are in debt are, overwhelmingly, poor people who are forced to borrow to stay afloat – think of single mothers having to go to loan sharks to pay medical bills in the US or small holder farmers borrowing at huge interest from money lenders in India.</p><p>No data set or methodology is ever 100 percent perfect and figures may change slightly from year to year as new and better data becomes available. However, the overwhelming and consistent pattern we are seeing is that the gap between rich and poor is growing ever bigger and that small number of people are accumulating vast fortunes while paying relatively little tax, even as vital public services such as healthcare and education are crumbling for want of funds.</p><h3>6. Inequality doesn’t fuel poverty.</h3><p><span>The evidence and experience of millions of people around the globe suggests it does.</span></p><p>In countries like Kenya a child from a rich family will spend twice as long in education as a child from a poor family - and so will be much better placed to secure a well-paid job when they leave school.</p><p><strong>By closing the gap between rich and poor</strong> – more fairly taxing wealth and investing the proceeds in education and healthcare for all – governments can ensure no child misses out on a better future simply because they are poor.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/10/17/nearly-half-the-world-lives-on-less-than-550-a-day" rel="nofollow">World Bank agrees</a> – it says unless we close the gap between rich and poor, extreme poverty will not be eliminated and 200 million will still living on $1.90 a day in 2030.</p><p><img alt="Graphic: Inequality in Nepal" title="Graphic: Inequality in Nepal" height="369" width="700" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/nepal_0.png" /></p><h3>7. Isn't Oxfam getting too political?</h3><p><span>The decisions that governments make have a </span><a href="https://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/twenty-five-years-more-life-the-real-prize-for-tackling-inequality/" rel="nofollow">critical impact on people's lives</a><span>. So, in that respect, poverty is political. People across the globe are losing faith in our political system because governments put the demands of big business and the super-rich over the needs of their own citizens.</span></p><p>It does not make sense that the tax bills for the very richest have been systematically lowered for years, while vital public services such as healthcare and education – that benefit all of society in so many ways - are struggling for want of funds.</p><p>This is not a question of politics or ideology – it's a matter of justice and human dignity.</p><p></p><h3>What you can do now</h3><p></p><ul><li><strong><span>Join the movement to <a href="https://www.evenitup.org" rel="nofollow">fight inequality and beat poverty</a></span></strong></li><li><strong>Check out the&nbsp;<a href="https://indepth.oxfam.org.uk/public-good-private-wealth/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">interactive online version</a>&nbsp;of the report</strong></li></ul></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Seven brilliant questions you asked about Oxfam’s Inequality report</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/19-01-25-siete-excelentes-preguntas-que-hemos-recibido-en-relaci%C3%B3n-al-informe-de-oxfam-sobre-desigualdad-davos" title="Siete excelentes preguntas que hemos recibido en relación al informe de Oxfam sobre desigualdad" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Wed, 23 Jan 2019 16:27:40 +0000 Guest Blogger 81841 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-01-23-seven-brilliant-questions-you-asked-about-oxfam-inequality-report#comments The top 7 questions you asked about the new Oxfam inequality report http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-01-23-top-7-questions-you-asked-about-new-oxfam-inequality-report <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>Our new report about <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/reward-work-not-wealth" rel="nofollow">the state of inequality in the world</a> reveals how our economy is delivering unimaginable rewards for those at the top by exploiting millions of ordinary workers at the bottom.</strong></em></p><p>As soon as we published it, we started to receive lots of great comments and questions. Here are some of the most interesting questions we’ve been asked, and our answers to them.</p><h3>1. “Poverty is going down globally. People are living longer, healthier lives. Why should we care if a few people are also getting really rich?”</h3><p>It’s absolutely true – and absolutely brilliant – that extreme poverty has declined very significantly over the past 25 years. In fact, the number of people living in extreme poverty – which is <a href="http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/brief/global-poverty-line-faq" rel="nofollow"><strong>defined as</strong></a> anyone living on less than $1.90 a day – has more than halved. However, there are several reasons why that doesn’t mean we can now put our feet up, or even carry on along the same path that we’ve been going down.</p><p>Over this same time period, inequality has been increasing within most countries, and is now at dangerously high levels. There’s a great deal of evidence to show that extreme inequality leads to very <strong><a href="https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/the-spirit-level" rel="nofollow">negative social, political and economic impacts</a></strong>. It also stands in the way of the fight against poverty. Yes – lots of people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty in recent years, especially in countries like China, but the data shows that <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/inequality_and_the_end_of_poverty_oi_media_brief_final.pdf" rel="nofollow"><strong>700 million more people</strong></a> could have been lifted out of poverty by the end of last decade if inequality had been reduced at the same time.</p><p>Also, while the number of people in extreme poverty has reduced, there are a huge number of people who are poor but not ‘extremely poor’ because they earn slightly more than $1.90 a day. They still work very long hours in difficult and dangerous jobs, and they are still struggling to make ends meet. This includes many of the people who grow our food and make our clothes. They work in global supply chains that are channelling huge wealth to those at the top, while failing to pay a living wage to those at the bottom.</p><p>How can we accept such injustice?</p><h3><a rel="nofollow" href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/fight-inequality-2018/petition/"><strong>Join the movement to fight inequality and beat poverty</strong></a></h3><h3>2. “Why would you oppose free market capitalism? Look at the example of China. When it opened up its economy and embraced free market capitalism, the number of people in poverty plummeted.”</h3><p>China is the main reason why the percentage of people globally living in extreme poverty has dropped so far and so fast. Hundreds of millions of Chinese have been lifted out of extreme poverty in recent years.</p><p>That has happened since China started opening up its economy, so there’s no doubt that capitalism has played a role in this success story. However, China has certainly not followed the extreme version of free market capitalism that is usually promoted by the Institute of Economic Affairs and other free market lobby groups.</p><p>Quite the contrary in fact. They maintain significant government control of the economy, they collect tax revenues from the richest, and they have invested heavily in health and education. The Noble-prize winning economist <a href="http://blogs.worldbank.org/psd/why-china-ahead-india-fascinating-analysis-amartya-sen" rel="nofollow"><strong>Amartya Sen has suggested</strong></a> that this is one of the key reasons why they’ve done better than India at reducing poverty rates. There is much that China could do better, but they have made a lot of progress in tackling poverty. The idea that this progress has all been the result of an unregulated free market though is clearly wrong.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/Staff-Discussion-Notes/Issues/2016/12/31/Causes-and-Consequences-of-Income-Inequality-A-Global-Perspective-42986" rel="nofollow"><strong>IMF’s research</strong></a> has shown that redistribution does not harm growth, and conversely that the extreme inequality we see today is harmful to growth. So the good news is that, if we tackle extreme inequality, we can create an economy that is both fairer and more dynamic.</p><p>There is no doubt at all that capitalism and economic growth can have a huge role to play in helping people lift themselves out of poverty. All we’re saying is that there needs to be some checks and balances to make sure it works for everyone. That just seems obvious, and it’s backed up by evidence from China and around the world.</p><h3>3. “Oxfam is a charity – why are you talking about politics?”</h3><p>Ending poverty is Oxfam’s reason for being – but we know that we can’t achieve our goal unless we work with others to tackle the big, structural issues that push people into poverty and keep them trapped there.</p><p>This means addressing really big challenges such as economic inequality, gender discrimination and climate change. And these problems are all fundamentally about power.</p><p>To understand their causes and to find solutions, we have to look at who has been making the big decisions, whose interests they have been acting in and whose voices have been excluded. We also have to look at who has the responsibility and the ability to put things right – and very often that means challenging governments to make better decisions.</p><h3>4. “Oxfam keeps criticizing big companies. Are you anti-business?”</h3><p>We’ve been asked this a few times over the years, but it simply isn’t true. Much of Oxfam’s work involves actively supporting and developing enterprises in communities around the world. We have productive partnerships with many <strong><a href="https://www.unilever.com/news/news-and-features/Feature-article/2017/surf-launches-partnership-with-oxfam.html" rel="nofollow">companies</a></strong>, large and small.</p><p>What we are against is the kind of business model that maximizes profits by paying poverty wages, endangering workers, trashing the planet, or aggressively dodging tax. We are happy to be seen as anti those kinds of business.</p><p>We want to see companies showing that there is a different way of doing business – that profit is not the only thing that matters to them.</p><p>We want to see governments regulating against bad business practices, and actively supporting more positive ones. That includes encouraging the development of alternative business models that have a social purpose at their heart and that distribute power and profit <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amul" rel="nofollow"><strong>more fairly</strong></a> among their different stakeholders.</p><h3>5. “Last year you said that 8 men owned the same wealth as half the world. Now, you’re saying that it’s 42. So it sounds like inequality is getting better – but you’ve also just said it’s getting worse! Which is it?”</h3><p>Unfortunately, those two numbers aren’t directly comparable. We base these statistics on data from the <a href="https://www.forbes.com/billionaires/list/" rel="nofollow"><strong>Forbes Rich List</strong></a> and from the <a href="https://www.credit-suisse.com/corporate/en/research/research-institute/global-wealth-report.html" rel="nofollow"><strong>Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report</strong></a>. Credit Suisse is the most reliable source for data on how much wealth is held by different sections of the global population – including the value of stocks and shares, housing, livestock etc. That’s obviously a very difficult thing to calculate so they’re always trying to add to and improve their data sources. That means we can’t always compare a new figure with something we’ve published in the past.</p><p>To work out how inequality is changing over time, we need to re-calculate the figures for previous years using the latest data set.&nbsp; When Oxfam did this we found that actually 61 people owned the same wealth as half the world in 2016 (rather than 8). And that 61 has now dropped down to 42, which is consistent with all the other evidence showing how wealth inequality is increasing.</p><p><strong>The really important point</strong> here isn’t whether it’s 8 or 42 or 100 people who have the same wealth as half the world. The point is that an elite group of billionaires – mostly men – are rich beyond their wildest dreams, while 3.7 billion people have less than 1% of the world’s wealth between them. And that enormous imbalance in wealth translates into an enormous imbalance of power and opportunity.</p><h3>6. “Oxfam talks about inequality but you pay your bosses fat-cat salaries – isn’t that hypocritical?”</h3><p>Oxfam is a confederation of 20 member organizations. The salary that each Oxfam pays to its own Executive Director differs - reflecting the size of the organization as well as national market realities.</p><p>In each case, the salary paid is entirely consistent with the individual’s responsibility for running an organization that is part of a major international humanitarian and development campaigning NGO, and we make sure pay ratios are reasonable. For example, the current ratio between our highest and lowest paid US employees is 9 to 1. That’s very different from the kind of out-of-control pay ratios we see in some parts of the economy. Last year it was revealed that CEOs of big companies in America <strong><a href="http://fortune.com/2017/07/20/ceo-pay-ratio-2016/" rel="nofollow">now earn 271 times more</a></strong> than an ordinary worker.</p><h3>7. “Oxfam talks as though the economic pie cannot grow, and so it’s just a question of sharing that pie out more equally. But that’s obviously not true. If the economy grows, there will be more for everyone. And billionaires are the real wealth creators, driving that economic growth, so why shouldn’t they be rewarded for that?”</h3><p>Of course, economic growth can bring benefits with it – but at the moment, we see that those benefits are mostly going to those at the top. 82% of the wealth created in the world last year went to the top 1%. We need both governments and businesses to take action to ensure growth benefits everyone – and particularly those at the bottom.</p><p>Economic growth isn’t driven by the actions of a few entrepreneurs. It’s built on the labor of millions of ordinary people who make things, grow things, buy things. Everyone has a right to share in the benefits of that growth.</p><p>The IMF have <strong><a href="https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/FM/Issues/2017/10/05/fiscal-monitor-october-2017" rel="nofollow">recently shown</a></strong> that redistribution – taxing the rich more and using the proceeds to pay for public services for everyone – is a great way of tackling inequality, and doesn’t have a negative effect on economic growth.</p><p>While inclusive economic growth is going to play a really important role in ending poverty in many countries, we also know that we have to tackle inequality at the same time, or we’ll destroy the planet that we all depend upon. With current levels of inequality, our global economy would need to grow 175 times bigger before everyone was able to earn $5 a day. That’s obviously completely unsustainable.</p><p><strong>We have to find a different and better route to shared prosperity.</strong></p><p>We are asking people to help spread the word and to <strong><a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/fight-inequality-2018/petition/" rel="nofollow">join with us to demand governments and big businesses do things differently</a>.</strong></p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/b48wziun9SU?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The top 7 questions you asked about the new Oxfam inequality report</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/18-01-26-siete-principales-preguntas-sobre-nuestro-nuevo-informe-desigualdad" title="Las siete principales preguntas que nos hicieron sobre nuestro nuevo informe de desigualdad" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/18-01-26-les-7-questions-sur-notre-nouveau-rapport-sur-les-inegalites" title="Les 7 questions les plus fréquemment posées sur notre nouveau rapport sur les inégalités" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Tue, 23 Jan 2018 18:05:00 +0000 Nick Bryer 81368 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-01-23-top-7-questions-you-asked-about-new-oxfam-inequality-report#comments What’s Wrong with Wealth? Inequality. http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-01-22-whats-wrong-with-wealth <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Oxfam’s new <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/reward-work-not-wealth" rel="nofollow">inequality report</a> is bound to ruffle feathers at the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting-2018" rel="nofollow">World Economic Forum</a> – the annual get together of the rich and powerful in Davos, Switzerland.&nbsp; Some will accuse us of being ‘anti-rich’, and of focusing on billionaires because we’re jealous of their success. They will say we should be focusing on the hundreds of millions of people who are still trapped in poverty, rather than on those at the top who are doing so very well for themselves.</p><h3>Two sides of the same coin</h3><p>Don’t be fooled. We are absolutely <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/explore/how-oxfam-fights-poverty" rel="nofollow">focused on people living in poverty</a>. What has become increasingly clear over the years however, is that there’s no way we’re going to end poverty unless we tackle extreme wealth too. They are two sides of the same coin.</p><p>The reality is that all too often the fortunes of the super-rich have been amassed at the <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2018-01-19/richest-1-percent-bagged-82-percent-wealth-created-last-year" rel="nofollow">expense of the rest of us</a> – and especially the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaMtylF9I24" rel="nofollow">workers and producers</a> who are at the bottom of every global supply chain.</p><h3><a rel="nofollow" href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/fight-inequality-2018/petition/"><strong>Join the movement to fight inequality and beat poverty</strong></a></h3><h3>An economy for the rich</h3><p>The insatiable pursuit of profit by giant corporations and their rich shareholders is fuelling an epidemic of tax dodging that is depriving developing countries of at least $170 billion every year – money that should be going to schools and hospitals. It is driving down wages and working conditions across the globe, leaving hundreds of millions of people in dangerous and difficult jobs, struggling to earn enough to get by.</p><p>It is no coincidence that <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/why-majority-worlds-poor-are-women" rel="nofollow">most of these people are women</a>.</p><h3>The effects of inequality</h3><p>Women like Lan, who is a garment worker in Vietnam, working in a factory far from her home. Lan’s pay is so low, and she has to work so much overtime, that she goes months at a time without seeing her young children.</p><p>She will earn in her lifetime what a CEO of a top garment company earns in just ten days. Or <a href="https://www.oxfamamerica.org/livesontheline/" rel="nofollow">Dolores, who works in a US poultry factory</a>, and has to wear diapers to work because she isn’t allowed to take toilet breaks. And that’s in the richest country on earth!</p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MaMtylF9I24?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p><h3>A broken system</h3><p>So yes, if people are getting rich at the expense of others, <strong>we have a problem with that</strong>.</p><p>If companies are paying out huge dividends to their rich shareholders and bumper pay packets to their top executives, while workers in their supply chains aren’t earning enough to feed their families, then yes, we have a problem with that.</p><p>If billionaire fortunes are the result of monopolies, of crony capitalism, of vast inherited wealth – the gilded results of a broken economic system that rewards wealth rather than work – yes, we have a problem with that.</p><p>Of course, it is true that some billionaires contribute a lot to our societies.&nbsp; Many are pioneers in their fields, innovators and risk-takers who have created things we can all enjoy and benefit from. Many of them are very <a href="https://givingpledge.org/" rel="nofollow">generous philanthropists</a>, giving away vast sums of money to help those less fortunate than them.</p><p>But this doesn’t change the fact that they are the beneficiaries of a broken economic system that is enriching them first and foremost at the huge expense of millions of others who remain trapped in poverty.</p><h3>Toward a fairer, more human economy</h3><p><strong>We need a different kind of economy now.</strong> One that shares value more fairly. One that treats women as well as it treats men. One that increases prosperity and well-being for all, without trashing the planet in the process. An economy that rewards work, not wealth.</p><p><strong>We need to see governments acting</strong> in the interest of ordinary workers – implementing and enforcing living wages, limiting excessive rewards for investors and top executives, regulating new technologies to ensure they benefit the majority, cracking down on tax dodging, investing in healthcare and education for all.</p><p>A<strong>nd we need businesses that are ready to act</strong> in the interests of their workers and wider society, and not just rich shareholders. That means more responsible tax behaviour, it means ensuring better working conditions, it means no longer paying out big dividends until they can be sure that everyone in their supply chain is being paid enough to live a decent life.</p><h3>Say goodbye to poverty</h3><p>These are necessary, practical steps that can help us consign both extreme wealth and extreme poverty to the history books.</p><p>You can help <a href="http://evenitup.org/" rel="nofollow">spread the word</a> and join the growing global demand for governments and big businesses to do things differently.</p><h3><a rel="nofollow" href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/fight-inequality-2018/petition/"><strong>Join the movement to fight inequality and beat poverty</strong></a></h3><p><em>This entry posted by Nick Bryer, Oxfam Global Inequality Lead (Davos), on 22 January 2018.</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>What’s Wrong with Wealth? Inequality.</h2></div> Mon, 22 Jan 2018 04:24:56 +0000 Nick Bryer 81363 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-01-22-whats-wrong-with-wealth#comments The IMF’s bold moves on inequality are still unconvincing http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-10-13-imfs-bold-moves-inequality-are-still-unconvincing <div class="field field-name-body"><h3>New Oxfam report finds the Fund’s new ‘inequality pilots’ fail to support inequality reduction.</h3><p><em>This blog post was co-written by Nick Galasso, Director of Research Oxfam America; Chiara Mariotti, Inequality Policy Manager Oxfam Great Britain; and Nadia Daar, Head of Oxfam International’s Washington, DC office.</em></p><p>For years, the&nbsp;International Monetary Fund (IMF) promoted policies to countries that worsened economic inequality. These increases, the Fund claimed, were an unfortunate trade-off to achieving greater economic growth.</p><p>Thankfully, the IMF now concedes the ‘equity/growth’ trade off is flawed. Indeed, the IMF has turned around sharply on inequality. These days it is claiming that tackling inequality is critical to its mandate of ensuring global economic stability and growth. The Fund arrived at this conclusion through its own research and analysis, and civil society’s longstanding critique of its policies. Yet, while the Fund is saying the right things on inequality, its policy advice fails to match its research and rhetoric.</p><p><strong>For Oxfam, it has been thrilling to watch</strong> the IMF’s research dispel many ‘inequality myths.’ For instance, IMF researchers put to bed the so-called trade-off between growth and equity with work finding that <a href="https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2011/sdn1108.pdf" rel="nofollow">inequality, in fact, harms growth</a>. And high levels of gender inequality in the economy make the damaging effects on growth even worse. Likewise, <a href="https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2014/sdn1402.pdf" rel="nofollow">redistribution</a> (once thought to be a drag on growth) has pretty benign effects; and since it reduces inequality, it is instead pro-growth.</p><p>Equally thrilling is Christine Lagarde’s regular <a href="https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2015/09/28/04/53/sp102215" rel="nofollow">mention of Oxfam’s inequality research</a> in her public statements. Lagarde is an important champion for the IMF’s inequality agenda. Last week, <a href="http://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2017/10/04/sp100517-a-time-to-repair-the-roof" rel="nofollow">she reminded a Harvard audience</a> that excessive inequality hinders growth and hollows out a country’s economic foundation.</p><p>Of course, Oxfam believes there are many other reasons to address inequality beyond growth concerns. Inequality causes poverty to reduce more slowly. Through no fault of their own, poor kids face dismal opportunities in unequal societies. Also, inequality has a <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/working-few" rel="nofollow">toxic effect on democracy</a>.</p><p><strong>Given our broad concerns about inequality</strong>, what the IMF does and says matters a great deal to Oxfam. The IMF’s influence and reach extends to shaping the contours of the global economy. At the national level, its policy advice impacts who becomes economic winners and losers.</p><p>Since the Fund now claims inequality is crucial to its mandate, Oxfam set out to understand how inequality is becoming operationalized in its work.</p><p>The answer, so far, is a series of ‘<a href="https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2017/02/16/vc02162016-Response-to-Article-The-IMF-is-Showing-Some-Hypocrisy-on-Inequality" rel="nofollow">inequality pilots</a>.’ These pilots integrate inequality into several of the Fund’s regular Article IV consultations – the Fund’s annual country surveillance exercises done in consultation with member countries and stakeholders. Intrigued, we decided to dig deeper and see what these pilots were about.</p><h3>Great Expectations?</h3><p>In a report launched this week called <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-great-expectations-imf-inequality-101017-en.pdf" rel="nofollow">Great Expectations</a>, Oxfam assesses fifteen of the Article IV inequality pilots conducted by the IMF. We find that, <strong>despite some improvements, the IMF is still failing</strong> to provide policy advice to countries that can help reduce inequality.</p><p>In the pilots we examined, we did find some shifts in policy advice in certain areas. However, in none could we identify a systematic inclusion of inequality in policy advice to countries.</p><p>Here are our key findings:</p><ol><li><strong>The most significant shift is observed in tax policy advice, where direct and more progressive taxes are often recommended.</strong> In all countries examined, the IMF recommended safeguarding social spending; however without verifying whether this was compatible with its fiscal adjustment recommendations. On labor markets, the IMF is maintaining a conservative stance. We worry its advice could undermine economic and gender equality, such as the reduction in public wage bills.</li><li><strong>When IMF advice called for fiscal adjustment or monetary tightening, in none of the pilots were the inequality effects of these targets were assessed.</strong> Further, no policy alternatives to achieve these macro-economic targets – such as a slower reduction of the deficit or the inflation rate – were discussed. Instead, they focus on the distributional impact of one single structural reform (i.e., tweaking the value-added tax, cutting subsidies, deregulation).</li><li><strong>The pilots demonstrate the IMF isn’t taking its own concerns seriously about the economic threats of inequality.</strong> Throughout the pilots, we see the IMF recommend policies that will knowingly increase They then offer measures to compensate the losers of such policies – often the most vulnerable. If the IMF is serious about the macro-economic concerns inequality provokes, then they should begin with policies that attack inequality rather than mitigating harm caused by their advice.</li></ol><p>Overall, the pilots are a step toward integrating inequality in the IMF’s policy advice. But they are a small step, and fail to provide comprehensive advice to countries on how to tackle inequality.</p><p>This week, the International Monetary Fund put forward a new edition of its biannual <a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/humaneconomy/human-economy-action/" rel="nofollow">Fiscal Monitor</a>, in which it recommends countries to tax the rich more, increase public investment in health and education as a solution to inequality, and consider introducing a universal basic income. This is a welcome example of a high profile publication which can significantly contribute to shape the global debate on inequality. But it is time for the IMF to cast its influence well beyond words into policies and programs. A far more radical overhaul is needed in the way it does business. We urge the institution to take the bold steps which could concretely make a difference in the global fight against excessive inequality.</p><p><em>Posted on 13 October 2017.</em></p><h3>What you can do now</h3><p><strong><a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/humaneconomy/human-economy-action/" rel="nofollow">Join the movement to end extreme inequality</a><br></strong></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The IMF’s bold moves on inequality are still unconvincing</h2></div> Fri, 13 Oct 2017 14:34:42 +0000 Guest Blogger 81246 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-10-13-imfs-bold-moves-inequality-are-still-unconvincing#comments Seven brilliant questions you asked about Oxfam’s Inequality report http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-01-16-seven-brilliant-questions-you-asked-about-oxfam-inequality-report <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Oxfam’s new <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/economy-99">inequality report</a>, which found that just 8 men own the same wealth as half the world, is making <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jan/16/worlds-eight-richest-people-have-same-wealth-as-poorest-50">headlines</a> around the globe.  Since we launched we have been inundated with questions from people who want to know a bit more.  Here we reply to five of the most frequently asked questions.</p> <h3>1. Why is Oxfam making such a fuss about the super-rich? It’s the numbers of people living in poverty that matter and poverty is on the decline.</h3> <p>Oxfam is not anti-wealth but we are anti-poverty. Extreme inequality is trapping millions of people in poverty because the same economic rules that allow extreme wealth also cause poverty – think of tax dodging or companies choosing profits over wages. In fact, 700 million fewer people would have been living in poverty at the end of the last decade, if action had been taken to reduce the gap between rich and poor.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en">If we don't end neoliberalism we'll see more of what happened in the last 25 years, warns Oxfam. <a href="https://t.co/i1CH3dswFY">pic.twitter.com/i1CH3dswFY</a></p> <p>— Johan Norberg (@johanknorberg) <a href="https://twitter.com/johanknorberg/status/821301218890891265">January 17, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>It is true that there has been great progress in reducing poverty in recent years - which is <strong>great news</strong> – but now experts like the <a href="http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2016/10/02/tackling-inequality-vital-to-end-extreme-poverty-by-2030">World Bank</a> are warning that this progress is under threat because of extreme inequality. The World Bank stated quite clearly in their most recent report that we can’t end poverty if we don’t end the inequality crisis.</p> <h3>2. Why is Oxfam criticising people like Bill Gates who give away huge amounts of money to charity?</h3> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en" xml:lang="en">Seriously <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam">@Oxfam</a> why do you care about their wealth? Especially as some of the are world's biggest charitable donors <a href="https://t.co/blQa8D2bKX">https://t.co/blQa8D2bKX</a></p> <p>— James Clark (@mr_james_c) <a href="https://twitter.com/mr_james_c/status/820927251101446144">January 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <p>Oxfam isn’t criticising these men.  We are simply pointing out that our broken economies have created such extreme levels of inequality that just 8 men own the same amount of wealth as 3.6 billion people.</p> <p>Many big corporations and super-rich individuals are helping to fuel this inequality crisis – by dodging taxes, or using their money and connections to ensure government policy works for them at any cost.  Big corporations, keen to maximise profits for their wealthy shareholders, are also driving down wages and the prices paid to their producers and failing to invest properly in the future of their businesses.</p> <p>Wealthy individuals who use their money to help others should be congratulated. But charitable giving does not replace a company or individual's responsibility to pay their fair share of tax or ensure their workers are paid a decent wage. Billionaire Bill Gates agrees – he says the first responsibility of the super-rich is to pay their taxes.</p> <h3>3. Oxfam’s inequality stats are hugely exaggerated. Many of the people in the ‘bottom half of humanity’ are not poor – they are graduates with student debts.</h3> <p>This is the case for a tiny fraction of people. The vast majority of people in the bottom half of humanity are very poor people, who are struggling to get by.  People like <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/even-it-vietnam/healthcare-inequality-vietnam-price-kidney">Oanh in Vietnam</a>, who is trapped in a cycle of debt because her health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of her medical bills.</p> <p>Even if you recalculate the wealth of the bottom half to exclude everyone in net debt their combined wealth is equal to that of just 56 billionaires – this is still a huge and shocking disparity.</p> <h3>4. Oxfam talks about inequality but you pay your bosses’ fat-cat salaries – isn’t that hypocritical?</h3> <p>Oxfam is a confederation of <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/about">19 member organizations</a>. The salary that each Oxfam pays to its own Executive Director differs - reflecting the size of the organisation as well as national market realities. In each case, the salary paid is entirely consistent with the individuals’ responsibility for running an organisation that is part of a major international humanitarian and development campaigning NGO.</p> <h3>5. Oxfam is anti-capitalism</h3> <p>This is not about ideology – it’s about common sense. A <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/my-big-idea-2017-time-build-human-economy-winnie-byanyima">healthy market economy</a> is key to tackling poverty and inequality but we don’t have that today. We have an extreme form of capitalism that only works for those at the top. That is why <a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/davos-international/petition/">Oxfam is calling for governments</a> to manage our economies so that they work for everyone and not just the fortunate few.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en" xml:lang="en">'Shocking? Yes. Unfair? Yes. Inevitable? No.' <a href="https://twitter.com/DeborahHardoon">@DeborahHardoon</a> on the research for 'An Economy for the 99%' <a href="https://t.co/s1bd8jY9Xd">https://t.co/s1bd8jY9Xd</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/wef2017?src=hash">#wef2017</a> <a href="https://t.co/NGsCA1fFIV">pic.twitter.com/NGsCA1fFIV</a></p> <p>— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/820965296429301760">January 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <h3>6. Would the poor benefit if a few tycoons were less rich?</h3> <p>Yes – in a more human economy they would.   </p> <p>In a more human economy, the richer you are, the more tax you would pay - and this money would be spent on strengthening health care and education, infrastructure and investments in technology and medicines that can dramatically improve all our lives – and particularly the poorest.   </p> <p>In a more human economy, the tycoons would have a little less cash because they would have to pay their employees a decent wage – whether that’s the people who work in their factories, or the people who clean their homes.   </p> <p>In a more human economy, big business and the super-rich would not be able to accumulate such vast fortunes because they would not be able to use their money and connections to ensure the rules work in their favor no matter the cost to others.   </p> <h3>7. Many commentators have highlighted how free market capitalism has lifted millions of people out of poverty – particularly in countries such as India and China. Isn’t capitalism working for the poor?   </h3> <p>Describing free market capitalism as the magic medicine behind the decline in poverty over recent years is naïve and ignores the crucial role played by governments to improve health, education and jobs in these countries - which are key for lifting people out of poverty. For example, China introduced a minimum wage in 2004 and India has a hugely ambitious social security program that aims to guarantee at least 100 days of work a year to every household.   </p> <p><strong>We celebrate the progress that has been made</strong> in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty but we also recognize that there have been many missed opportunities along the way.  If action had been taken to ensure that all sections of society benefited from economic growth, 700 million fewer people would have been living in poverty at the end of the last decade. The World Bank agrees – it has says we will not eliminate extreme poverty unless countries begin to close the gap between the richest and the rest by tackling inequality.   </p> <p>Oxfam is not the only one to recognize that a different approach is needed. An increasing number of voices from the <a href="http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2015/10/01/governments-focus-shared-prosperity-inequality-world-bank-group-president">World Bank</a>, the <a href="http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2016/06/ostry.htm">International Monetary Fund</a>, and the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2017">World Economic Forum</a>, as well as <a href="http://www.sida.se/English/press/current-topics-archive/2016/stockholm-statement">many leading economists</a> agree that we need a better way of managing our economies.     </p> <p>Oxfam's <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/economy-99">vision for a human economy</a> lays down some of the principles of an economy that works for everyone and not just a fortunate few.</p> <p><strong>Keep the questions coming! Follow us at <a href="http://twitter.com/Oxfam">@Oxfam</a>.</strong></p> <h3><a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/davos-international/petition/">Join the movement now to end extreme inequality.</a></h3> <p><em>This entry posted by Deborah Hardoon (<a href="https://twitter.com/DeborahHardoon">@DeborahHardoon</a>), Oxfam's Deputy Head of Research, on 17 January 2017.</em></p> <p>N.B.: In response to your additional queries, we added questions six and seven today, 19 January 2017.</p> <p> </p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Seven brilliant questions you asked about Oxfam’s Inequality report</h2></div> Mon, 16 Jan 2017 18:23:00 +0000 Deborah Hardoon 77468 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-01-16-seven-brilliant-questions-you-asked-about-oxfam-inequality-report#comments The movement to end tax havens is already 100,000 strong and growing http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-01-25-movement-end-tax-havens-already-100000-strong-and-growing <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Last week <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2016-01-18/62-people-own-same-half-world-reveals-oxfam-davos-report" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam revealed</strong></a> that 62 people own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people on the planet. Tax havens are at the heart of fueling this insane level of inequality. That’s why we’re taking them on and that’s why I want to do all I can in 2016 to put a stop to them.</p> <p><strong>Tax havens are about poverty.</strong> Tax havens conjure up images of yachts sailing into tropical islands. You wouldn’t normally associate them with the lives of people living in poverty. But they are part and parcel of the problem. When rich individuals or multinational corporations stash their wealth in tax havens, they can dodge paying their taxes in the countries where they do business and where they make their money. This in turn robs governments of vital funds which could be spent on free public services and infrastructure like schools, hospitals and roads.</p> <h3>Here are some headline figures:</h3> <ul><li>Developing countries lose between $100 – 200 billion a year due to corporate tax dodging. </li> <li>Almost a third of rich African’s wealth – a total of $500 billion – is held offshore in tax havens. It’s estimated that this costs African countries $14 billion a year in lost tax revenues, enough to employ enough teachers to get every African child into school.</li> </ul><p><img alt="Kyohairene, coffee farmer in Kenya. Photo: Oxfam" title="Kyohairene, coffee farmer in Kenya. Photo: Oxfam" height="407" width="300" style="width: 300px; height: 407px; float: right;" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/kyohairene-300.jpg" /><strong>These are startling numbers but what does it actually mean for people’s lives?</strong></p> <ul><li>Meet Morgan <em>(photo at top)</em>. He’s 5 years old and lives in a slum in Nairobi. His mother earns money by sorting through rubbish in a dump. Even though Kenya’s economy is the fastest growing in Africa, too few people aren’t seeing the benefit. Morgan can’t go to school as his family can’t afford it. </li> <li>Meet Kyohairene <em>(right)</em>. She’s a coffee farmer in Kenya. She pays her taxes. But she doesn’t have a decent road to transport and sell her coffee.</li> </ul><p><strong>Tax havens mean that money</strong> which could be spent on the very services that we know are crucial to tackling poverty and inequality are sucked out of countries and communities where these are most needed.</p> <p>Tax havens could seem like a scary thing to take on. They are created and run by people with money and power. How can we as campaigners take that on? By working together! Tax havens have been created by people. That means that people can un-create them, and put an end to their existence. As I write this 106,879 people have signed up to end the era of tax havens. That’s 106,817 more than the 62 billionaires. If this about people power, then we are already winning.</p> <h3>Here are a few things you can do to help us continue on the winning streak:</h3> <p><strong>Demand that leaders end the era of tax havens. <a href="http://oxf.am/Znzm" rel="nofollow">Sign the petition here</a>. </strong></p> <p><a href="https://oxfaminternational.exposure.co/two-sides-of-the-same-story" rel="nofollow"><strong>Share Morgan’s story</strong></a>. The more we can speak together about the impact of tax havens on poverty, the more hearts and minds we can move to join our movement.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Francesca Carnibella (<a href="https://twitter.com/frankcarnibella" rel="nofollow">@frankcarnibella</a>), Oxfam Global Inequality &amp; Tax Campaigner, on 25 January 2016.</em></p> <p><em>All photos: Oxfam.</em></p> <p><img alt="The 62 richest people in the world own as much as the poorest half of the world’s population." title="The 62 richest people in the world own as much as the poorest half of the world’s population." height="1000" width="1000" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/davos-graphics-en5-final_0.jpg" /></p> <p> </p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The movement to end tax havens is already 100,000 strong and growing</h2></div> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 11:44:43 +0000 Francesca Carnibella 36128 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-01-25-movement-end-tax-havens-already-100000-strong-and-growing#comments Stories of underdevelopment http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-10-29-stories-underdevelopment <div class="field field-name-body"><p><img alt="Juan Tadeo" height="168" width="200" style="border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/juan.jpg" /><em>This post, <strong><a href="http://juantadeo.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/blogactionday-desigualdad/" rel="nofollow">written by Juan Tadeo</a></strong>, is one of three winners of the <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/action/lets-talk-about-inequality-join-blog-action-day-2014" rel="nofollow">Blog Action Day 2014</a></strong> competition, a movement supported by Oxfam and <strong><a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/" rel="nofollow">Global Voices</a></strong>, among other organizations. Juan Tadeo is an independent blogger based in Mexico. He blogs about justice, politics, transparency and sometimes music and football to make it all bearable. He joined Global Voices in 2011, but <strong><a href="http://juantadeo.wordpress.com/" rel="nofollow">has his own blog</a></strong>. </em></p> <p>Mexico, a country where the local police illegally take away the freedom of young protesters and hand them over to organized crime (Ayotzinapa); where the army takes away civilians' lives in brutal circumstances (Tlatlaya) without any senior public servant giving an explanation for the events. A country which, in 2015, will see the president take delivery of a new Boeing 787 <em>Dreamliner</em> with a commercial value (with no special equipment) of approximately US $257.1 million, while <strong><a href="http://www.coneval.gob.mx/Medicion/PublishingImages/Pobreza%202012/CUADRO%201_POBREZA_2012_CON_COMBUSTIBLE.jpg" rel="nofollow">half the population lives in poverty</a></strong>, according to official figures.</p> <h3>Francisco and Abelarda</h3> <p>Mexico is the setting for these stories. The country that sees the coexistence of an individual like Carlos Slim, who has several times been named the <strong><a href="http://juantadeo.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/carlos-slim-is-the-richest-man-on-earth-forbes-mexicans-live-in-poverty/" title="Carlos Slim is the richest man on Earth (Forbes)" rel="nofollow">richest man on the planet</a></strong>, and another such as <strong>Francisco</strong>, who has no home to live in or even roof to sleep under, which is why he sleeps on a bench in broad daylight, at one of the many public transport stations in the Mexican capital.</p> <p>Other people, such as <strong>Abelarda</strong>, are living in poverty like Francisco. Many of them suffer from ancestral poverty, which afflicts millions of Mexicans, and are particularly vulnerable due to alcoholism or other addictions. They have virtually no possibility of receiving treatment from the public health services (which are allegedly universal, according to the federal government's claims) or of being helped to overcome their current situation.</p> <p>Abelarda does not sleep while Francisco sleeps; she eats some food that she was able to retrieve from the bin, seated on a bridge that leads to a Metro station. Afterwards, she asks people to help her with a few coins to buy a “little atole” to drink.</p> <h3>Guadalupe</h3> <p><strong>Guadalupe</strong> is a woman of around 50 years of age who arrived in Mexico City from Guerrero several decades ago. She does not live in poverty; she has other problems. Of her four daughters, three are single mothers and the other is married to a man who works for a cleaning services company and <strong><a href="http://juantadeo.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/salario-minimo-en-mexico-2014/" title="What use is the minimum wage in Mexico?" rel="nofollow">receives the minimum wage</a></strong>. Guadalupe already has nine grandchildren, one of whom is disabled and requires special care. In order to take him to the private charity center (public health services are not an option for him) Guadalupe has to take two buses, the Metro and a trolley bus, three times a week.</p> <p>After getting on the trolley bus (which did not approach the pavement or allow passengers to board in the designated area) with her daughter and grandson, Guadalupe notices a look of contempt given to her grandson by some of the passengers. Nobody offered them a seat so that they could travel to their destination more comfortably.</p> <h3>Íñigo and Romina</h3> <p><strong>Íñigo and Romina</strong> are also Mexican, but their situation is different from that of Guadalupe, Abelarda and Francisco. They each have a place to live and never use public transport. Though they enjoy good health, the public services are not an option for them either, since when they need medical attention they are treated at Grupo Ángeles hospitals. Íñigo's father is a public servant within the legislature, where he has been paid a salary for three terms, representing two different political parties. Romina is the daughter of a single mother who has achieved a reasonable amount of success in the world of finance.</p> <p>Although they have not been in a relationship for very long, they have decided that they will never have children. Íñigo hopes to secure a study grant to do an <em>MBA</em> in England, while Romina has not decided what career path to follow. She is in no hurry.</p> <p>For them, the rain and bad weather are only a concern on days like 11 and 12 October 2014, when they went to the <strong><a href="http://juantadeo.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/corona-capital-2014-music-festival/" rel="nofollow">Capital festival</a></strong> after paying 1,878 pesos (US $139) each, equivalent to 27 days of the minimum wage, not including delivery costs, 100 pesos for parking and around 700 pesos spent on beer and food. They decided not to buy <em>VIP</em> tickets, saying “they are overpriced”. As he was leaving the event on Sunday 12, a taxi driver nearly ran Íñigo over, shouting “stuck-up bastard!” before continuing on his way at excessive speed.</p> <h3>Pizarrón and Pizarrín</h3> <p>In the midst of inequality, there are some people with a sense of humour. <strong>Pizarrón and Pizarrín</strong> are young men who live in Xochimilco, in southern Mexico City. They have left school because they each have to support their family financially. Pizarrín wanted to be an architect, but for now the only things he is involved in designing are the jokes that he and his companion tell on board the minibuses that travel to the city centre, in exchange for a few pesos from passengers.</p> <p>When they take off their make-up and baggy clothes, these two young men are discriminated against because of their sexual preferences, and whenever they show their affection in public they get disapproving looks from people, at best; on one occasion they were beaten up by a group of (allegedly drunk) university students on a Metro station platform. When the police arrived, one of the officers said to his colleague: “Be careful with the blood, partner, because they probably have AIDS”.</p> <p>Poverty in Mexico is no laughing matter. It is an economic problem with profound social consequences, such as discrimination and violence, which only lead to crime and impunity. In this blog, <strong>we are fighting for the creation of public policies to tackle poverty as a priority</strong> based on a high-quality, fully inclusive educational model, seeking to <strong>combat inequality and classism</strong> among Mexicans. These policies must, of course, be coherent with an effective system of accountability to which all public servants are bound.</p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Stories of underdevelopment</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/14-10-29-cr%C3%B3nicas-del-subdesarrollo" title="Crónicas del subdesarrollo" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/14-10-29-chroniques-du-sous-d%C3%A9veloppement" title="Chroniques du sous-développement" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Karina Brisby 23244 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-10-29-stories-underdevelopment#comments