A report from Oxfam International predicts half of the world’s wealth will be owned by the top 1 per cent richest people in the world by 2016.

As part of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Oxfam was warning of the social and economic dangers of such staggering inequality.

In 2009 the top 1 per cent richest people accounted for 44 per cent of all wealth. By 2012 this had grown to 48 per cent of the world’s assets. Oxfam warned that this rising disparity is the biggest impediment to global poverty.

Each year average taxpayers are footing the bill for the Global Financial Crisis, large multinationals lobby (and receive) more and larger tax breaks; while health, poverty, and environmental degradation affect a growing number of poor.

Oxfam’s executive director, Winnie Byanyima, asked delegates: “Do we really want to live in a world where the one per cent own more than the rest of us combined?

“The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering. And despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.”

Global inequality has been discussed by world leaders. President Barrack Obama and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde have had ‘robust’ talks on reducing the growing disparity between rich and poor.

But ‘wealth’ it seems is a proportional concept, not an absolute one. People in first world countries consider themselves wealthy only as compared to their peers. And while everyone would be happy to see the poor getting a larger slice of the pie, no one, it seems wants to donate their portion.

More than half a billion people, say the Oxfam, live on less than $US 1.25 a day.

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