Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Even It Up

My article in today’s Cornish Guardian addressed global inequality. It is as follows:

The respected charity OXFAM has launched a campaign titled “Even It Up,” which seeks to pressure governments to do more to tackle inequality.

I believe it is a very important campaign of great relevance in the 21st century, both for the United Kingdom and wider World.

Here in the UK, the austerity measures of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition are certainly hitting the less-well-off much more than the wealthy.

One recent study shows that in 2000, the richest 10% controlled 51.5% of Britain’s wealth, but this has now risen to 54.1%.

One broadsheet newspaper summarised the report as follows: “Wealth inequality has risen four times faster in the seven years after the crash compared with the seven years before. The rich in the UK are becoming richer faster than ever. Wealth inequality rose under Labour; it rose faster under the Coalition.”

OXFAM itself states that “economic inequality has reached extreme levels,” while many of its statistics are truly shocking.

In 2013, “seven out of ten people lived in countries where the gap between the rich and poor is worse than thirty years ago.”

In 2014, the “richest 85 people on the planet owned as much as the poorest half of humanity,” and these 85 individuals, last year, “saw their wealth increase by half a million dollars every minute.”

Since the financial crisis, “the number of billionaires has more than doubled and in that same period at least a million mothers died in childbirth.”

There are “sixteen billionaires in sub-Saharan Africa, alongside the 358 million people living in extreme poverty.”

OXFAM want the “Even It Up” campaign to be the “start of something special.”  The organisation states that it knows “we can't solve the inequality crisis overnight,” but has pledged that it will take on “governments and big business to make sure they deliver the real change needed to reverse the trend of rising inequality.”

Specific proposals include sorting out the tax system so the richest and huge corporations “pay their fair share,” spending more on “public health and education to give the poor a fighting chance,” and ensuring “fair wages for everyone.”

It is my hope that the British Government, and other governments around the globe, actually listen and put fairness at the heart of their future policies.

No comments: