REDMOND, Washington- There is an incredibly disproportionate gap between the amount of money that people living in extreme luxury have and the amount of money people living in extreme poverty have. The poorest 3.5 billion people alive today (nearly half of the population of the world) are controlled by the richest 85 multi-billionaires around the globe. Bill Gates, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, is the richest man in the world and virtually has been since 1995, but what many people don’t realize is that his immense wealth is nearly $80 billion, equal to the yearly Cuban GDP.
Out of those 85 richest billionaires in the world, 34 of them are Americans, and more specifically, out of the 10 richest billionaires in the world, seven of them are Americans. This is part of the reason that the United States is ranked as the nation with the highest GDP in the world.
According to Oxfam, the amount of money that the richest one percent of the world’s population has is equal to $110 trillion, an equivalent of 65 times the amount of the poorest half of the world. In the U.S., 90 percent of the population has become poorer since 2008, while the richest one percent acquired 95 percent of the generated wealth.
So there is clearly already an advantage for the richest one percent of the world, but on top of that, there has been a lot of corruption over that last few years. The Organization of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) issued an indictment on the efforts of the world’s richest countries that are trying to put a restraint on tax evasion.
According to an NGO that specializes in monitoring tax called Global Financial Integrity, between 2001 and 2010, $5.8 trillion was misrouted by tax evasion, multinational corporate bribery, and money laundering. The Oxfam report found that tax rates for the rich have fallen since the 1970’s in 29 out of the 30 countries in which data is available and that the rich have political power to influence policies in their favor with issues like tax havens and financial deregulation.
The good news is there are some billionaires with an equal amount of power as the others that are not so corrupt and are displaying good values through their recent philanthropic activities.
Among others, Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett grouped up as some of the most well-known American billionaires in order to convince members of the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the U.S. to sign their Giving Pledge campaign. They were able to get support from 40 families and individuals belonging to the list and they rose over $125 billion from them.
They are partly trying to change people’s views on how wealthy business people are mistrusted, but they also have realized how a person can only save so much money for themselves and their family until the rest just becomes unused.
This Giving Pledge encourages the richest Americans to donate half of their wealth to charitable causes of their choice to try to give back to the community and improve the lives of others.
– Kenneth W. Kliesner