As G7 leaders head to Biarritz, France, and President Macron promises to make the fight against inequality a priority at this year’s Summit, Oxfam says that the G7 are actively fueling inequality at home and across the globe.
Under President Macron’s leadership, this year’s G7 threatens to be full of hypocrisy and empty words, especially as civil society has been largely excluded from the Summit. In ‘The G7’s Deadly Sins’ published today, Oxfam lays out the seven key issues the G7 must act upon if the Biarritz Summit is going to deliver concrete action to tackle inequality.
“By paying lip service to the dangers of inequality, G7 countries – whose populations own half of the world’s wealth – have encouraged this unequal system to thrive by enabling the super-rich to control politics, by underfunding public services and foreign aid, by under-taxing corporations and wealth, and by fueling climate change and sexism,’ said Oxfam France’s Executive Director, Cécile Duflot.
The inequality crisis is growing as a new billionaire is minted every other day. The divide between the haves and have-nots has been blamed for the rise of populism and a breakdown of trust in mainstream politics around the world. Inequality is preventing millions of people from lifting themselves out of poverty.
Oxfam describes how G7 governments are fueling inequality at home and globally by failing to implement progressive tax systems and instead adopting harmful tax practices that favor the richest individuals and corporations, while undermining the ability of developing countries to raise tax revenues to tackle poverty and inequality. They are also cutting funding to universal public services like education, healthcare and social protection as well as in foreign aid.
To make matters worse, the G7 is fueling this unequal economy, where the risk and burden is dumped primarily on the poor and upon women and girls. The G7 is not doing enough to cut emissions or to help poor countries adapt to bear the burden and cost of the climate crisis.
“G7 governments have helped create the inequality crisis, they now have the responsibility to clean up their act and be part of the solutions. As leaders of a world in crisis, they must to adopt urgent policies and practices to make a more human economy and champion similar reforms across the globe,” Duflot said.
Oxfam urged the G7 leaders to start by ensuring that the richest people and corporations pay their fair share of tax and invest this in public social services like healthcare and education, and in more and better aid to developing countries. They must signal the way to a fairer business model where profits and power are better distributed between shareholders and workers, for instance by requiring companies to publish information on their wage inequalities, gender pay gap and CEO to worker wage ratio.
The G7 must cut greenhouse gas emissions drastically now, and down to zero well before mid-century, and mobilize the promised $100 billion a year by 2020 to support climate action in developing countries.
“G7 leaders have to make a choice between a brighter and more sustainable future and dignity for all of us or continued extreme wealth for a few. Between health for all, or more wealth for the already rich. It remains to be seen whether this crop of world leaders have what it takes to do right by all people, not just rich people,” Duflot said.