Primrose Mulenga hangs laundry outside her home in South Africa. Photo: Alexa Sedge/Oxfam
The rich only get richer while millions live in poverty. The system must change.
Inequality creates poverty and injustice
The richest 1% in the world have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people combined. At the same time, millions of people live in extreme poverty, without access to their rights, political power and opportunities. This is neither fair nor sustainable.
The extreme inequality between rich and poor undermines the fight against poverty, damages economies and creates public frustration, especially as the consequences of climate change become more prevalent. Unequal societies create social unrest, political instability, crime and violence.
We believe that economic inequality:
- is a result of conscious political choices that favour super-rich individuals and corporations
- exacerbates other dimensions of inequality, such as between women and men, and between different ethnicities
- is something we need to reduce in order to fight poverty, and build more sustainable and equitable societies
Richest gain while poverty and inflation rise
How we work for greater equality
- promotes workers' rights by influencing governments to implement legislation that holds companies accountable for their social impact and by working directly with companies that want to make a difference
- influencing politicians and governments to implement policies that have been proven to reduce inequality, such as equal welfare and taxation of the very richest
Methods to reduce inequality
Investing in robust welfare
A proven way to reduce inequality in a society is to have a well-functioning welfare system. Free health care, schooling and care that applies to everyone regardless of their wallet. Privatisation and profits in welfare are phenomena that increase inequality and make a bigger difference to people.
Implementing good rights for workers
Fair wages, trade union rights and a safe working environment are important aspects of increasing equality. Poverty wages and substandard conditions without the possibility to organise are risks for workers, especially low-income workers.
Tax the very richest
During crises, when 99% of the world's population is worse off, the world's billionaires are even better off. This was most recently demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The world has become even more unequal since then, and it makes sense that those who have benefited from crises also pay back to society. That money can be spent on better welfare for all.
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