62 individuals are as rich as 3.6 billion.

18 January 2016 4:52 pm

The richest one percent are as wealthy as the rest of humanity combined, according to a new Oxfam report.

The report found that 62 individuals have the same wealth as 3.6 billion people – the bottom half of humanity. That figure is down from 388 individuals as recently as 2010. It also found that since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1 per cent of the total increase in global wealth, while half of that increase has gone to the top 1 per cent.

What’s driving this trend, the report says is “the global spider’s web of tax havens and the industry of tax avoidance, which has blossomed over recent decades.”

“It is simply unacceptable that the poorest half of the world’s population owns no more than a few dozen super-rich people who could fit onto one bus,” said Winnie Byanima, executive director of Oxfam International. “World leaders’ concern about the escalating inequality crisis has so far not translated into concrete action,”

Rising inequality and the growing trust gap go to the ideological rifts we are now seeing over how to handle the worst refugee crisis since World War Two. Britain is threatening to leave the European Union, raising doubts about the future of Europe's six-decade push towards ever closer integration.

It’s also at the heart of the US election with the shock emergence of Donald Trump as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination exposing a gaping political divide in the United States.

All of this is set to concentrate the minds of world leaders as they gather for the World Economic Forum in Davos.