01/17/2016 07:02 pm ET
All the money in the world is growing ever more concentrated in the hands of just a few people, a report released Sunday night makes clear.
Just 62 ultra-rich, mostly white men -- a list that includes Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, the Koch Brothers and the Walmart heirs -- have as much wealth as the bottom half of humanity. Five years ago, it took 388 rich guys to achieve that status. The wealth of the richest 62 has increased an astonishing 44 percent since 2010, to $1.76 trillion. Meanwhile, the wealth of the bottom half of the world dropped by 41 percent.
“This is terrible,” Gawain Kripke, Oxfam's Policy Director, told The Huffington Post. “No one credible will say this is good for the world or good for the economy.”
While the wealthy might argue that their rising wealth is just a fabulous sign of economic prosperity (the "you're just jealous" rationale), the disproportionate growth at the top is keeping those on the bottom from climbing out of poverty, Oxfam notes in its report.
"It is unjust that people living in poverty are not getting the boost to their incomes that they desperately need, while already privileged capital owners receive a greater share of income and wealth," the report says.
Kripke also points out that wide inequality is no longer seen as an unfortunate consequence of economic growth. Now many economists -- most famously Thomas Piketty -- contend that gross inequality actually slows down growth, as fewer people can afford to buy stuff, and creates economic and political instability.