Hoarding arises out of poverty

Injustice Distributed Wealth - «Poverty has decreased massively worldwide»

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The 42 richest people in the world own more than the poorer half of humanity. This is shown by a study by the development aid organization Oxfam. Accordingly, the tax gifts to the corporations are to blame for this unjust distribution. But there is also criticism of the study, for example from Professor Dina Pomeranz.

SRF News: Is the gap between rich and poor really widening?

Dina Pomeranz: It's a bit more complicated than the Oxfam study suggests. When it comes to wealth, the gap is actually widening. The rich are getting richer. However, the poor don't always get poorer. In terms of income, inequality is even decreasing sharply across the world. The poorer half of humanity has very little wealth because they need their income to live. So when the rich get richer, the gap will still widen.

A single very rich person can greatly increase statistical inequality.

There was an interesting case in Sweden: when Ikea founder Ingvar Kampard - he is credited with a fortune of several billion francs - moved back to Sweden, the statistical inequality of wealth there increased suddenly. And nota bene without anyone in Sweden owning anything less than before. The very fact that a very wealthy person moved in increased inequality.

Where is the trend in the poorer part of humanity?

It is interesting that the trend is exactly the opposite of what the Oxfam study suggests. Poverty has decreased massively worldwide in the last 20 or 30 years. Most people live much better today than they did a few decades ago. Income has increased, the quality of life has improved and education is better. At the same time, hunger and child and maternal mortality have decreased. So actually we can be very optimistic about developments in the poorer countries of the world.

Shouldn't the poorest also be able to make a fortune in order to have a chance in the First World?

That comes automatically when people have a little more money than they need to live. You put yourself to one side and build wealth. Typically, greater fortunes are built up over generations. You can see this in properties that are passed on from generation to generation.

The concrete life situation of people can change more quickly, and it has done so in the last few decades. That doesn't mean we shouldn't also be concerned about inequality.

We can be very optimistic about developments in poorer countries.

How could inequality be reduced?

You can start on both sides: you could do something so that the rich have less or the poor have more. Switzerland can contribute a lot to the latter in particular: today it has been scientifically proven that a great many people can be helped through development cooperation. For example, the supply of mosquito nets alone has halved the number of malaria cases in the last 15 years. This means that many children grow up without malaria damage and are productive themselves.

Millions of migrants are sending billions of dollars to their home countries. That is very important for the development there.

It is also important that international tax or trade agreements are fair. Oxfam also insists on this point. Migration also plays a huge role. Millions of migrants in developed countries are sending billions of dollars to their home countries. With this money, children can go to school there or small businesses can be opened. Therefore, these remittances make a very strong contribution to development and poverty reduction in poorer countries.

Where will we be in another ten years?

Extreme poverty will continue to decrease, even if it does not go all the way to zero. Inequality, on the other hand, could continue to increase in rich countries and lead to major political dissatisfaction. So you have to be aware of both sides. On the one hand, it's great that so many very poor people are less poor. On the other hand, we have to make sure that the rules of the game remain fair. It shouldn't be that the richest half percent stand out from the remaining 99.5 percent of people and no longer have to stick to the rules. This is very important for democratic cohesion.

The interview was conducted by Sonja Mühlemann.

srf / snep; aebn

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  • Comment from Ernst Mueller (Aschi)
    This is not cash, but companies (IKEA) that represent such a value.
    Agree agree to the comment
    1. answer from Hans Bernoulli (H.Bernoulli)
      And the worse the workers are paid, the higher the company's value.
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. Show answers
  • Comment from A. Keller (eyko)
    Kampard - he is credited with a fortune of several billion francs. I keep asking myself: What do people do with so much money? Imagine the amount of billions. Why do these people hoard so much money that they can never spend in their life? Take away at the end is also not possible. Just inherit everything and keep it up. Why not support more social projects. Even in those countries of which Ikea
    How wood sources its products, among others. There are also poor people there.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Hans Haller (panasawan)
    All over the world there are around 2.3 billion who cannot have a sufficient income and livelihood. Such a heading is a bit strange, maybe exaggerated and also cynical.
    Agree agree to the comment

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