As political leaders meet with the wealthiest in Davos, for the World Economic Forum, the #FightInequality Alliance (FIA) is organizing its Week of Action, to showcase worldwide contrasting messages from “the other mountains”, those of the poorest.
Oxfam, who is a member of FIA alongside the Global Alliance for Tax Justice, Greenpeace, ActionAid, FEMNET, CIVICUS and many more, issued its yearly global inequality report the same morning Davos was launching its activities. This year’s edition, titled “Reward work not wealth”, focuses on the share of wealth split between workers and owners of capital.
“Last year, Oxfam states, saw the biggest increase in billionaires in history, one more every two days. This huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over. 82% of all wealth created in the last year went to the top 1%, and nothing went to the bottom 50%. Dangerous, poorly paid work for the many is supporting extreme wealth for the few. Women are in the worst work, and almost all the super-rich are men. Governments must create a more equal society by prioritizing ordinary workers and small-scale food producers instead of the rich and powerful.”
Obviously, #TaxJustice concerns play a significant role in Oxfam’s analyses: “The fortunes of the richest are often boosted by tax dodging – by rich individuals and by the corporations of which they are owners or shareholders. Using a global network of tax havens, as revealed in the Panama and Paradise Papers, the super-rich are hiding at least $7.6 trillion from the tax authorities. New analysis by economist Gabriel Zucman for this paper has shown that this means the top 1% is evading an estimated $200bn in tax. Developing countries are losing at least $170bn each year in foregone tax revenues from corporations and the super-rich”.
Taxation plays a decisive function in #FightInequality measures, as Oxfam’s recommendations show:
- Use tax to reduce extreme wealth. Prioritize taxes that are disproportionately paid by the very rich, such as wealth, property, inheritance and capital gains taxes. Increase tax rates and collection on high incomes. Introduce a global wealth tax on billionaires, to help finance the SDGs.
- Call for a new generation of international tax reforms to end the race to the bottom on tax. Tax rates should be set at a level that is fair, progressive and contributes to reducing inequality. Any new negotiations should take place under the responsibility of a new global tax body that ensures all countries participate on an equal footing.
- Eradicate the use of tax havens and increase transparency, by adopting an objective blacklist of the worst tax havens and strong and automatic sanctions against the corporations and rich people, that use them.
Oxfam Director, Ms. Byanyima, used those new finding to criticise U.S. President Donald Trump, who is attending the World Economic Forum, for creating “a cabinet of billionaires” and implementing tax legislation that she said rewarded the super-rich, not ordinary Americans.
You can find the report here in English, here in Vietnamese, here in Italian, here in Danish, here in Spanish and here in French. The Portuguese version is yet to be published but you can the Portuguese abstract here.