Submitted by Mandy on July 13, 2016 - 3:49pm
There are now just 62 people who own the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity – that’s 3.6 billion people. I sit somewhere in the middle there, closer to the top than I actually would like to admit… and if you are reading this, chances are you are too.
Although it may feel a bit uncomfortable to be reminded of the above, it is also incredibly sobering. I am privileged. I am, in many ways, one of the lucky ones; closer to the top of the pyramid than to the bottom. But I am still very far from those 62 people.
Hyper inequality is out of control, and in the middle of the problem is a rigged global system that allows large corporations to avoid paying their fair share of tax, depriving governments – rich and poor – of the resources they need to provide vital public services and tackle rising inequality.
A recent Radio New Zealand piece slammed the big four accountancy forms as “perpetrating the greatest tax crimes in history”. And, just a few hours earlier, the New Zealand Herald published an article headlined Tax dodging is hurting the poor and destroying capitalism.
It is estimated that a total of US$7.6 trillion of individuals’ wealth sits offshore. If tax were paid on the income that this wealth generates, an extra US$190 billion would be available to governments every year.
Tax dodging costs Africa US$14 billion annually, which is enough to pay for healthcare that could save 4 million children’s lives, as well as employing enough teachers to get every African child into school. Every. African. Child.
Let’s not forget that one of the main reasons why businesses can prosper in developed countries in the first place is because these countries have the infrastructure - from roads to the internet - that allow their very existence; the same infrastructure these people now avoid paying for.
You and I are, right now, paying for those business and individuals that have their own rules to get even richer.
But we are privileged. We have access to information. We have a voice that can be used to demand change and action from those to whom we gave power.
Use your voice now, and sign Oxfam’s petition to End Tax Havens.