Wealth Inequality on the Rise

The bulk of wealth generated globally last year went to the world’s billionaires, according to a new study issued by Oxfam International.

The Reward Work, Not Wealth report suggests as much as 82% or $762 billion dollars of economic gains in a single year flowed to one of 2,043 people worldwide. 36 of the top 100 billionaires in the world reside or are based in the United States.

Coloradans appearing on that list include Philip Anschutz and Charles Ergen. Ergen founded the Dish Network, a company that’s spent more than $28 million on political contributions and lobbying expenditures, while Anschutz’ company has obtained $291 million in subsidies from three states.

The study anticipates nearly $2.4 trillion will be inherited over the next 2 decades and goes on to suggest that as much as 2/3 of the wealth that billionaires know is a product of monopolized power, cronyism and/or inheritance.


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Recommendations in the report include a call for the creation of worker owned cooperatives like Spain’s Mondgragon Corporation, but Robel Worku, the economic justice organizer with the Colorado People’s Alliance, told KGNU’s Robin Ryan that a drastic shift in the dominant narrative would be necessary for the model to become more prevalent locally.

Worku said what he found most compelling about the key findings of the Oxfam report concerned such a huge share of the gains going to so few.

“If the status quo remains the same, I think that number of 82% is going to shoot up a year from now. And as daunting as it is, without major moves by groups and organizers, it’s just going to get worse.”

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