Economic inequality has reached extreme levels.
From Ghana to Germany, Italy to Indonesia, the gap between rich and poor is widening. In 2013, seven out of 10 people lived in countries where economic inequality was worse than 30 years ago, and in 2014 Oxfam calculated that just 85 people owned as much wealth as the poorest half of humanity.
Extreme inequality exacerbates gender inequality, and causes a range of health and social problems. It stifles economic growth and social mobility, keeping some families poor for generations, while others enjoy year after year of privilege. It fuels crime and even violent conflict. These corrosive consequences affect us all, but the impact is worst for the poorest people.
In Even it Up: Time to End Extreme Inequality Oxfam presents new evidence that the gap between rich and poor is growing ever wider and is undermining poverty eradication.
If India stopped inequality from rising, 90 million more men and women could be lifted out of extreme poverty by 2019.
This report delves into the causes of the inequality crisis and looks at the concrete solutions that can overcome it. Drawing on case studies from around the world the report demonstrates the impact that rising inequality is having on rich and poor countries alike and explores the different ways that people and governments are responding to it.
The world has woken up to the gap between the rich and rest. From Spain to South Africa, and Peru to Pakistan, people are already demanding a world that is fairer. This report supports a new campaign to join this growing movement to end extreme inequality and Even it up.
What leaders are saying about the Even It Up report:
The widening gap between rich and poor is at a tipping point. It can either take deeper root, jeopardizing our efforts to reduce poverty, or we can make concrete changes now to reverse it. This valuable report by Oxfam is an exploration of the problems caused by extreme inequality and the policy options governments can take to build a fairer world, with equal opportunities for us all. This report is a call to action for a common good. We must answer that call.
Kofi Annan, Chair of the Africa Progress Panel, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Laureate
This report from Oxfam is a stark and timely portrait of the growing inequality which characterises much of Africa and the world today... It contains many examples of success to give us inspiration. I hope that many people from government officials, business and civil society leaders, and bilateral and multilateral institutions will examine this report, reflect on its recommendations and take sustained actions which will tackle the inequality explosion.
Graça Machel, Founder of the Graça Machel Trust
The extreme inequalities in incomes and assets we see in much of the world today harms our economies, our societies, and undermines our politics. Whilst we should all worry about this it is of course the poorest who suffer most, experiencing not just vastly unequal outcomes in their lives, but vastly unequal opportunities too. Oxfam's report is a timely reminder that any real effort to end poverty has to confront the public policy choices that create and sustain inequality.
Professor Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University, winner of Nobel Prize for Economics