5-speed listening (Wealth Inequality - Level 6)

World's 26 richest as rich as poorer half of world



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The combined fortune of 26 of the world's richest people is equal to the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people. This startling disparity in wealth is according to a report from the charity Oxfam. It reported that since the global financial crisis in 2008, the number of billionaires in the world has doubled. They are also getting $2.5 billion richer every day. This is in stark contrast to the world's less fortunate - the poorest half of the planet is seeing its wealth slowly shrink as prices of commodities increase, wages are squeezed and land prices and rents rise. Oxfam's report highlights the growing gap between the world's rich and poor and the ever-widening gap in wealth inequality.

The report says that most of the world's mega-wealthy have made their huge fortunes from technology companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. The world's richest person is Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. His amassed $100 billion fortune is 100 times greater than the annual health budget of Ethiopia. Oxfam said it was time to try and redress the imbalance in wealth. It recommended taxing income at fairer levels, increasing tax on personal earnings and corporate profits, and eliminating tax avoidance schemes commonly used by companies and the super-rich. It said: "In many countries, a decent education or quality healthcare has become a luxury only the rich can afford."

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