Inequality is the moral challenge of our times, Stop evading it -Amitabh Behar
-The Times of India (Voices)
Recently the ever-eloquent and formidable P Sainath was with us and his story and visual image for the day was the contrast between the thirst and misery of the Marathwada drought, including scarcity of drinking water on the one hand, and on the other hand the luxury of independent swimming pools in each flat on every floor of a multi-storied building being advertised in Mumbai during the same summer.
Oxfam released its 2019 inequality report titled ‘Public Good or Private Wealth’ on the eve of the World Economic Forum at Davos. The report has been setting the newsroom agenda across the globe for the last one week.
The fulcrum of the Oxfam report is the trend of growing inequality in the world, which is reflected in the tremendous concentration of wealth amongst a few individuals and a small number of TNCs (transnational corporations). The report says that 26 individuals have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the global population. Globally, the number of billionaires has doubled since the financial crisis, India has added 18 new billionaires in the last year raising the number of billionaires to 119. The Global Policy Forum report, written by Anderson and Cavanagh says that of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries. Walmart – ranked No. 12 — is bigger than 161 countries, including Israel, Poland, and Greece. According to the Oxfam report, in India this concentration of wealth is even higher with 9 men owning more wealth than 50% of Indian population, roughly around 650 million people. All this data reflects that inequality is growing dramatically leading to obscene and frightening levels of inequality. Well-known and respected economists like Thomas Picketty and Joseph Stiglitz have already done a significant body of work to establish the trend of growing inequality.
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