The gap between the wealthy and the poor is no breaking news for the general public.
However, the extent to which that gap divides us is much greater than previously thought, according to a new analysis released by Oxfam.
In it, the anti-poverty organization revealed that 8 men own as much wealth as 3.6 billion people—roughly half the total human population on the planet.
These mega-elites range from Bill Gates to Michael Bloomberg, and apparently their wealth has increased dramatically since the prior year.
“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,” said Winnie Byanyima of Oxfam International, “Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy.”
In 2016, Oxfam released a similar report, but back then the number of ultra-wealthy individuals with as much wealth as half the population was tallied at 62.
Based on their assessments, that would mean that in the span of a year there was either a dramatic increase in the wealth of these top individuals or a dramatic decrease in the wealth of the lowest-earners around the globe.
The top 8 billionaires on Oxfam’s list include the following, in order from wealthiest to least wealthy:
- Bill Gates
- Amancio Ortega
- Warren Buffett
- Carlos Slim Helu
- Jeff Bezos
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Larry Ellison
- Michael Bloomberg
According to one of the world’s largest marketing firms, Edelman, a recent survey conducted with over 33,000 participants found that trust in government and major institutions had decreased dramatically since the 2008 financial market crisis.
“The implications of the global trust crisis are deep and wide-ranging,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of the organization conducting the survey, “It 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.”
Unsurprisingly, Edelman surveys also found that people are more likely to trust information they gather from search engines than from major media outlets.
“People now view media as part of the elite,” Edelman elaborated, “The result is a proclivity for self-referential media and reliance on peers. The lack of trust in media has also given rise to the fake news phenomenon and politicians speaking directly to the masses.”