“62 people now own the same amount as the poorest half of humanity, and the 1% of the population has the same amount now as the rest of us combined.”
That’s according to Oxfam Canada’s inequality policy expert, Brittany Lambert, who calls it a staggering global inequality crisis. She spoke on The Jon McComb Show about the most recent report released by Oxfam, “An Economy for the 1%”.
The report goes into detail about how to slow down what it calls extreme inequality. Lambert talked about some of those measures with Jon.
1. Tackling the era of tax havens
“We’ve seen huge amount of wealth flowing out of countries and not being taxed. And this wealth could be used to redistribute and to created equality measures like universal public services that could help everybody have a level playing field and have basic and basic education.”
2. Improving wages and working conditions
Lambert says ones of the key trends Oxfam has seen is the rising share of income going to capital, and a falling share going to workers.
“We’ve seen that executive rewards are skyrocketing, and that’s often happening on the backs of labourers who aren’t even making living wages or don’t have decent working conditions.”
She says ensuring living wages and the right to unionize is key to addressing inequality.
3. Reducing “political capture”
Lambert says there’s an element of political capture where the political elites have a huge influence over government policies and regulatory environments, and regulatory measures are needed to keep the influence of the powerful elite in check.
“We need to find ways to keep their influence in check…reforming the regulatory environment, putting rules on lobbying for these large corporations, separating business from campaign financing, for example.”
Inequality is alive and well in Canada
Five Canadians have the same wealth as the bottom 30%, so about 11 million people.
Lambert says fortunately Canada has measures like universal public services that at least allow people to start their lives on a relatively level playing field.
With Prime Minister Trudeau heading to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, she says that while he campaigned on a promise to help the middle class, Oxfam hopes he doesn’t forget that the bottom 10% of the global population are the ones who are losing out the most in this inequality crisis.
LISTEN to the full interview here: