“Sixty-two people have accumulated more wealth than the rest of the world put together.”
Frightening thought? Unfortunately, it happens to be true.
According to a recent Oxfam report, the world’s richest 1%, 62 individuals, have more wealth than the rest of the world put together. In 2015, these 62 people have about the same wealth as 3.6 billion people – the bottom half of all of the world’s population. The wealth of these 62 individuals has risen by 44% in the last five years, while the wealth of the bottom half fell by around 41%. Further, this poorest half of the world’s population has only received 1% of the total increase in global wealth and the annual income of the poorest 10% of the world’s people has risen by less than 3 dollars each year in almost 25 years.
What is this? This is inequality.
No, this is severe inequality and it’s been getting worse and worse. And frankly, it really has got to stop. The world’s economy may be growing, but not everyone is able to benefit from this growth. Some don’t even benefit at all.
If you think that there’s nothing really wrong about inequality as long as absolute poverty is fought, you’re wrong. Inequality destroys social cohesion. It gives the “rich” a very unfair advantage over political and economic resources. This can lead to the poor receiving even less and less in social, political, and economic aspects.
Now, I’m not going to give you a crash course in economics or politics to explain why this is happening to the world nor will a give a policy suggestion to solving this. But I will give an important lesson about humanity, an important understanding of the human person that if everyone knew, this inequality could be lessened or even totally eradicated.
We are all human beings and this is what binds us together. And being humans, we all have dignity, we all have worth. Given this, we have a great responsibility not only to ourselves but also to others. We must be there for other people, we must be willing to help in any possible way we can.
This is what you call solidarity. Solidarity is having something that unites people together and what unites us is our worth. We must acknowledge that everyone has worth, as much worth as we, ourselves, do. When we have this basic understanding, inequality could cease to exist. If we all have this basic understanding, we’d all work together to making sure that no one is left behind in growth and development. We would all work together to making sure that everyone benefits from the beauties and gifts that the world has to offer. If we truly valued others, we’d all do something in our own little ways to help others. People aren’t poor because they choose to be poor. Given the right resources, given the right help, they too can give greater contributions to our economy. We must find it in ourselves to be the people to help them.
I call on governments, businesses, organizations, everyone to care about each other and to help one another. Now, more than ever, with the advent of terrorist threats, with communicable diseases, with drastic changes in the environment, and with the grave inequality that persists, we must help one another. We must all make sure that a brighter future is there for all of us and for the next generation.
Let’s all help one another and create a world for everyone.
By Samantha Cinco, current intern at the WYA Asia Pacific office.