Oxfam’s new inequality report, which reveals that billionaires’ fortunes grew by $2.5 billion a day last year, as poorest half of humanity – 3.8 billion people – saw their wealth fall, is making headlines around the globe. Since we launched, we have received lots questions. Here are our responses to seven of the most frequently asked questions.
The current inequality crisis is the direct result of this moral failure. Our exclusive, highly unequal society based on extreme wealth for the few may seem sturdy and inevitable right now, but it will collapse. Before long, the pitchforks will come out and the ensuing chaos will benefit no one. Not wealthy people like me - and certainly not the poorest people who have already been left behind.
Our inequality crisis can be solved by ensuring corporations and wealthy individuals pay their fair share of tax
A little change can go a long way. Oxfam estimates that a tiny 0.5 percent increase in tax on the wealth of the richest one percent could raise more than it would cost to educate all the children who are currently out of school and provide healthcare that would save the lives of 3.3 million people.
Last year, the Paradise Papers laid bare the extent to which multinationals and extremely wealthy individuals exploit a broken global system. This system allows them to avoid paying their fair share of tax which contributes to poverty and inequality around the world. One year on, it is clear we still need to do more.
Last week, we revealed that it looks like New Zealand is losing $21 million a year to unfair tax avoidance by four big pharmaceutical companies – Abbott, Merck & Co. (also known as MSD), Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer. Some of you may have seen comments about the way we conducted the research – our methodology. We’ve got a great blog about the methodology from our American colleagues who led the research. But we want to take a slightly different angle, because the comments about our method actually support what we are saying – that if we want an accurate picture of what companies earn and owe we need more publicly available information so that we can use more robust information.
“While the interim report has a lot of positive recommendations, there is no mention of making multinational corporations publish key financial information from each country they operate in. This is essential for countries to be able to assess exactly how much revenue governments may be losing to tax avoidance, including here in New Zealand.
The world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies appear to be dodging an estimated NZ$5.5 billion in tax per year across 16 countries, reveals a new report from Oxfam today.
The report, ‘Prescription for Poverty', analyses the financial disclosures from Pfizer, Merck & Co. (also known as MSD), Johnson & Johnson and Abbott, between 2013 and 2015 and finds: