Richest 1% control quarter of wealth, according to Oxfam report
NGO calls for change in wage inequality at press conference in Barcelona
A report published by Oxfam Intermón has highlighted the continued inequality in the country, with the richest 1% of the population controlling more than a quarter of the wealth. The data was accumulated throughout 2017, its release coinciding with the World Economic Forum beginning on Tuesday. Although the figures are based on Spain as a whole, the general director of the NGO in Spain, José Maria Vera, explained that they can also be applied to Catalonia, where the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen, following the trend seen throughout the world.
According to the report, entitles ‘Reality of fiction? The economic recovery in the hands of a minority’, between 2016 and 2017, the richest 1% received 40% of the overall wealth in the country, while the poorest 50% of the population received as little as 7%. At a press conference held in Barcelona, the NGO revealed how the recent years of economic recovery after the 2008 crisis benefited those with higher incomes four times more. Spain and Catalonia, therefore, are “increasing wealth inequality” and “unfairly distributing” the benefits of economic recovery.
Wage inequality was a particular problem, emphasized Vera, as he explained the data also applies to Catalonia. “Macroeconomic indicators, such as GDP, do not serve if they do not say how growth among the population is distributed,” he said. In this sense, “it is only being distributed within a minority,” he added.
The wage gap is particularly accentuated for women and young people. Men earn, on average, 20% more than women. In order to eliminate this gap, it would take 217 years. Young people, on the other hand, earn 33% in their first salary than before the crisis began. Oxfam Intermón warned of the precariousness of the labour market with an increase in subcontracting and temporary work.
The rich get richer
In 2016, business profits increased by 200.7% compared to the previous year, but salaries have remained largely stagnant since 2012. According to an Oxfam researcher, Liliana Marcos, Spain as a whole is the third most unequal country in the European Union, behind Romania and Bulgaria. The number of people living under the poverty line has also increased due to the growing inequality, reaching record highs in 2016 with 10.2 million people living in a state of vulnerability.
For this reason, Oxfam Intermón has demanded, among other things, that the minimum wage be increased to €1,000 per month by 2020, asserting that the highest salary in a company should not be 20 more times than the lowest.
On an international level, the report demonstrated that the number of billionaires worldwide is increasing more and more. Every two days, in fact, another person becomes a multimillionaire.
The world’s super-rich, making up 1% of the world’s 7.6 billion ever-growing population, control 82% of the overall wealth produced. Meanwhile, the world’s poorest 50%, nearly 4 billion people, did not benefit at all.