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by dpa (TNS)

LONDON — The richest 1 percent of the world’s population will soon own more than half of global wealth, unless there is drastic wealth redistribution, Oxfam said Monday.

The British charity said the share of the world’s wealth owned by the richest 1 percent rose from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent last year, and that 2015 would see half the world’s wealth in the hands of just 1 percent.

Oxfam, which used data from a series of Credit Suisse reports, said that over half of the wealth not owned by the richest 1 percent belongs to the richest 20 percent.

Some economists have taken issue with Oxfam’s reading of the statistics, noting that early-career professionals who spend all their income would fall into the “poor” classification and that people in rich countries who own even modest homes would come within the world’s top 1 per cent in asset terms.

The report was released to coincide with the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Oxfam head Winnie Byanyima, who is co-chairing the Davos business gathering, demanded action towards wealth redistribution.

“It’s time our leaders took on the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world,” she said in a statement.

“The poor are hurt twice by rising inequality; they get a smaller share of the economic pie and, because extreme inequality hurts growth, there’s less pie to be shared around.”

Photo: A. Currell via Flickr.com

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