It's time to end extreme inequality

Ecolière devant un tableau noir dans une salle de classe de Kigali, Rwanda. Photo : Simon Rawles

Extreme inequality is hurting us all - damaging economic growth, fueling crime, and squandering the hopes and ambitions of billions who are trapped at the bottom with no way out. It stops us from beating poverty and achieving equality between women and men.

Such stark inequality is not inevitable – it is the consequence of political and economic choices. With extreme wealth comes power and influence – we’re living in a world where the rules are rigged in favour of the few and at the expense of the many.  So while the wealth of the few grows greater, the poorest are left behind. 

The inequality crisis is also being fueled by the use of tax havens that allows multinational companies and super rich individuals to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. As much as $7.6 trillion of personal wealth is being hidden in offshore accounts, and it has a devastating impact on poorer countries.

Did you know?

  • Oxfam has calculated that in 2018 the richest 26 people on the planet owned as much as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. In other words, 1% have more wealth than the rest of the world combined.
  • Nearly half the world's population - 3.4 billion people - is living on less than $5.50 a day.
  • Seven out of ten people live in countries where the gap between the rich and poor is worse than thirty years ago.
  • Developing countries are losing at least $170bn each year in foregone tax revenues from corporations and super-rich people.
  • The very highest incomes are reserved almost exclusively for men. Of the 2,153 billionaires worldwide, 89% are men.
  • Without action, it will take 170 years to achieve equal pay between men and women.

Fighting for a more equal world

Most of our political leaders are failing to reduce this dangerous divide. Yet inequality is not inevitable. Concrete steps can be taken to reduce it. From Spain to South Africa, and Peru to Pakistan, people are already demanding a world that is fairer than this.

We can challenge the concentration of wealth and power that is making it harder and harder for people to work their way out of poverty. We can change the rules on tax to make sure the richest pay their fair share. We can demand more spending on public health and education, and fair wages for everyone. We can make sure the poorest have a voice, and those voices are heard by those in power.

It is time to bring an end to inequality and overcome poverty for good. It is time to Even it up!