Extreme inequality and poverty

The growing gap between rich and poor is undermining the fight against poverty.

The 10 richest men doubled their fortunes during the pandemic, while the incomes of 99% of the population decreased because of COVID-19.

Oxfam's report, ‘Inequality Kills,’ shows that inequality kills at least one person every four seconds.

What's wrong

Our deeply unfair economic system enables the super-rich to amass huge fortunes while making it harder for billions of poor people to put food on the table, adapt to the impacts of climate change, access lifesaving vaccines, and much more. The economy is rigged against you if you’re poor, especially if you are a woman or a person of color.

Making it right

The president and Congress must address the inequality crisis by making sure billionaires pay their fair share in taxes. It’s time to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

A wealth tax on billionaires could generate funding to lift people out of poverty, address the climate crisis, fund childcare, tackle gender-based violence, create well-paying jobs and so much more.

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Inequality kills

Ahead of the Davos Agenda—the World Economic Forum’s virtual State of the World sessions—Oxfam released our annual inequality report, Inequality Kills, which found that inequality is contributing to the death of at least 21,000 people each day, or one person every four seconds.

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Featured publication

  1. Briefing paper

    Inequality Kills

    The wealth of the world’s 10 richest men has doubled since the pandemic began. The incomes of 99% of humanity are worse off because of COVID-19. Widening economic, gender, and racial inequalities—as well as the inequality that exists between countries—are tearing our world apart. This is not by chance, but choice: “economic violence” is perpetrated when structural policy choices are made for the richest and most powerful people. This causes direct harm to us all, and to the poorest people, women and girls, and racialized groups most. Inequality contributes to the death of at least one person every four seconds. But we can radically redesign our economies to be centered on equality. We can claw back extreme wealth through progressive taxation; invest in powerful, proven inequality-busting public measures; and boldly shift power in the economy and society. If we are courageous, and listen to the movements demanding change, we can create an economy in which nobody lives in poverty, nor with unimaginable billionaire wealth—in which inequality no longer kills.

  2. Briefing paper

    Carbon Inequality in 2030

    The world’s richest 1% are set to have per capita consumption emissions in 2030 that are still 30 times higher than the global per capita level compatible with the 1.5⁰C goal of the Paris Agreement, while the footprints of the poorest half of the world population are set to remain several times below that level. By 2030, the richest 1% are on course for an even greater share of total global emissions than when the Paris Agreement was signed. Tackling extreme inequality and targeting the excessive emissions linked to the consumption and investments of the world’s richest people is vital to keeping the 1.5⁰C Paris goal alive.

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  3. Briefing paper

    The Great Vaccine Robbery

  4. Impact update

    Helping the most vulnerable survive COVID-19 in India

    When the second wave of COVID-19 hit India in late April, it created a public health crisis that left hospitals overwhelmed and people literally dying in the streets. In less than a month, the country saw more than 100,000 deaths, bringing the total death toll to more than 300,000—the third highest in the world behind the United States and Brazil.

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Stories & updates

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