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Oxfam highlights sharp inequality as Davos elite gather

DAVOS, Switzerland — A CEO from one of the world’s top five global fashion brands has to work for just four days to earn what a garment worker in Bangladesh will earn in an entire lifetime, campaigning group Oxfam International said Monday.

In advance of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, Oxfam has sought to put inequality at the heart of this week’s deliberations of the rich and powerful.

"The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system," said Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International’s executive director. "The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors."

In its report "Reward Work, Not Wealth," Oxfam says 82 percent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest 1 percent of the global population while the poorest half of the world’s population — 3.7 billion people — saw no increase in their wealth.

Billionaire wealth, it added, has risen by an annual average of 13 percent since 2010, over six times more than the wages of average workers, and the number of billionaires rose at an astonishing rate of one every two days in the year to March 2017.

Oxfam said that without action, the populist and nationalist tides around the world will only become more acute.

Oxfam’s findings are based on the annual Global Wealth Databook of Swiss bank Credit Suisse, and Forbes’ billionaire rankings.

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Oxfam highlights sharp inequality as Davos elite gather