Weekly Current Affairs


‘Eight men as rich as half the world’

  • Gap between super-rich and poorest half of global population is starker than previously thought, with just eight men, from Bill Gates to Michael Bloomberg, owning as much wealth as 3.6 billion people, according to analysis by Oxfam.
  • Anti-poverty organization Oxfam says the gap between the very rich and poor is far greater than just a year ago.
  • If not, it warns, public anger against this kind of inequality will continue to grow and lead to more seismic political changes akin to last year’s election of Donald Trump as U.S. President and Britain’s vote to leave European Union.
  • It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day.
  • Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy.
  • The same report a year earlier said that the richest 62 people on the planet owned as much wealth as the bottom half of the population.
  • However, Oxfam has revised that figure down to eight this year.
  • Measures like higher taxes on wealth and income to ensure a more level playing field and to fund investments in public services and jobs, greater cooperation among governents on ensuring workers are paid decently and the rich don’t dodge their taxes must be undertaken.
  • Business leaders should commit to paying their fair share of taxes and a living wage to employees.
  • Ability of rich to avoid paying their fair share of taxes was vividly exposed last year in so—called “Panama Papers,” a leaked trove of data that revealed details on offshore accounts that helped individuals shelter their wealth.
  • It is because of this kind of inequality that trust in institutions has fallen sharply since the global financial crisis of 2008.
  • The global trust crisis began with the Great Recession of 2008, but like the second and third waves of a tsunami, globalization and technological change have further weakened people’s trust in global institutions.
  • The consequence is virulent populism and nationalism as the mass population has taken control away from the elites.
  • According to a survey, search engines are trusted more as an information tool than traditional news editors.