The two richest people in Ireland have €15 billion ($16.3 billion), which is more than half of the wealth owned by the entire Irish population, which has €10.3 billion ($11.2 billion), according to Oxfam Ireland.
Oxfam Ireland's report "Survival of the Richest," published on January 16, highlights the staggering inequalities between the world's richest and poorest and reveals the rapid acceleration in inequitable wealth distribution globally.
According to Oxfam Ireland, over the past two years, the richest 1% have acquired nearly twice as much wealth as the rest of humanity put together. This comes on top of a decade of unprecedented gains for the super-rich.
In Ireland, the people with individual wealth of over €46.6 million (US$50 million) has more than doubled between 2012 and 2022, rising from 655 to 1,435 people.
For every €93.15 (US$100) of wealth created in the last ten years, €31.67 (US$34) has gone to the richest 1% and less than €0.5 to the bottom 50%. The top 1% have gained 70 times more wealth than the bottom 50% in the last 10 years.
The richest 1% of Irish people have 27% of wealth and the bottom own just 1.1%
Oxfam Ireland’s CEO Jim Clarken, said: “This rising wealth at the top and rising poverty for the rest are two sides of the same coin, proof that our economic system is functioning exactly how the rich and powerful designed it to.
“It was 10 years ago when we first sounded the alarm about extreme inequality at the World Economic Forum and yet since then the world’s billionaires have almost doubled their wealth.
"As crisis after crisis hits the poorest people hardest, it’s time for Governments, including Ireland’s, to tax the rich. The very existence of billionaires while out-of-control inequality rises, is damning proof of policy failure.”
As an example, Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s wealthiest men, paid a ‘true tax rate’ of just 1% from 2014 to 2018. Meanwhile, Aber Christine, a market trader in Northern Uganda who sells rice, flour, and soya, makes $80 a month in profit. She pays a tax rate of 40%.
The richest 1% have gained 70 times more wealth than the bottom 50% in the last 10 years— Oxfam Ireland (@OxfamIreland) January 19, 2023
We are calling for a tax on the wealth of the richest at rates high enough to redistribute these resources.
It’s time to #TaxTheRich to #FightInequality#inequality #richest #taxes pic.twitter.com/lybGBgpwsn
Last year, the World Bank announced that the world has lost its goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.
Extreme poverty is defined by the World Bank as living on less than $2.15 (€2.30) per day.
Oxfam Ireland says it is calling on the Irish Government to apply a wealth tax on elite Irish wealth at graduated rates of 2%, 3%, and 5% above a high threshold of €4.7 million.
This would raise €8.2 billion annually, with the potential to transform Irish public services in health, housing and education while also delivering on international and climate commitments.
Oxfam Ireland's report "Survival of the Richest" can be found here.