With the combination of our work and your support, we're creating positive change.
In Oxfam’s 2023 inequality report, we disclosed that extreme wealth and extreme poverty have increased simultaneously for the first time in 25 years. While this is concerning, it's important to remember that the situation is not hopeless.
Despite the fact that inequality continues to grow, we are making important progress. How exactly? Check out these three ways:
1. Shifting the Conversation
Oxfam releases an inequality report every year during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. It has become an accountability mechanism that keeps track of the growing division between the ultrawealthy and the rest of the population.
Because of this, it’s sparked an ongoing conversation about economic inequality that has spread across the globe. When Oxfam started to release the report in 2013, it immediately received a lot of media coverage and was embraced by reputable organizations like the International Monetary Fund. Now, every year it is a staple resource for prominent news outlets, partner organizations, and political bodies to check in on the economic state of the world.
By having this information now reported on globally, the conversation has shifted in many ways, including the following:
- Instead of allowing the billionaires to be the ones to bend the ears of the world leaders at the annual meeting, we are able to keep their attention on the issues that matter.
- Thanks to our research, the World Economic Forum even published an article called Oxfam: This is what inequality looks like in 2022 - and 6 ways to solve it.
- Since publishing our research on how taxing the ultrawealthy can lift billions of people out of poverty, polls have seen a steady increase in the amount of people who support taxing the rich. This is a clear change from just a few years ago when discussions about using a wealth tax to reduce economic inequality where sparse.
2. Mobilizing Public Support
Oxfam developed tools for activists to hold their government accountable. We’ve created and delivered many petitions to Capitol Hill over the years that demanded different actions the government needed to take to reduce economic inequality. More than 500,000 Oxfam supporters signed our 2022 petition that called for higher taxes on the ultrawealthy, which was delivered directly to Congress and the Biden administration.
Through social media, we have been able to encourage current and potential supporters to share reliable information and start conversations about economic inequality. We use hashtags that people can easily follow, and post information for people to share within their online communities. The public awareness this generates increases the pressure on world leaders to implement policies that help make the future more equal.
We’ve also partnered with many organizations, including Americans for Tax Fairness, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream), MoveOn, and Patriotic Millionaires, to expand our resources so that more people get involved.
3. Pushing for Institutional Change
Now, because of our sustained advocacy and the momentum we’ve gained from supporters, government leaders are starting to listen.
- In 2021, world leaders agreed to set a global minimum tax of 15% on big corporations’ profits to decrease corporate tax dodging.
- In the U.S., the 2021 Corporate Transparency Act, which helps reduce the practice of anonymous shell companies that facilitate tax evasion, became law.
This year, one of the most critical calls to action came from the president himself. During his 2023 State of the Union address, President Biden made remarks that shared a similar message to our latest inequality report. He said, “We pay for these investments in our future by finally making the wealthiest and the biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share ... Reward work, not just wealth. Pass my proposal for a billionaire minimum tax.”
The fact that reducing inequality is a key component of his economic agenda is further proof of how our sustained advocacy, with the help of our supporters, can get our leaders to take action.
Looking forward, there’s still much to be done. Oxfam and our supporters are working together to advocate for the global minimum tax proposal to be translated into U.S. law. We are also advocating for a wealth tax, a vital and necessary tool for directly redressing extreme wealth inequality, as well as advancing racial justice, tackling the climate crisis, and protecting democracy. The solutions to the growing economic inequality that is hurting so many people exist, and we’re taking the steps to achieve them, but it’s a process that takes time, attention, and support.
With your help, we are making progress in our work to achieve a more equal future.