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Tech moguls dominate Oxfam's rich people Hateful 8

They've got as much money as half the world, scolds charity

By Alexander J Martin, 16 Jan 2017

Five of the world's eight fattest fat cats, whose collective wealth equals that of the world's 3.6 billion poorest people – according to a new report by Oxfam – are technology billionaires.

Leading the pack is the charity-committed Bill Gates, with $75bn he's honestly trying to get rid of. Carlos Slim Helú has a net worth of $50bn, while Bezos and Zuck have roughly $45bn each.

Larry Ellison is at the bottom of the pack, peering up at his betters with a mere $44bn in his pockets. Larry's take-home has been cut in recent years following difficulties at Oracle.

Considering that the world's population is slightly over seven billion, Oxfam suggests as much wealth is held by 3.6 billion, 51 per cent, as is held by eight people, less than 0.000000001 per cent of the world's population.

Oxfam's report was published today ahead of the beginning of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Its opening line declares: "It is four years since the World Economic Forum identified rising economic inequality as a major threat to social stability."

Echoing Theresa May's first official statement as Prime Ministerit's time to build a human economy that benefits everyone, not just the privileged few – the theme in the report's subtitle is continued into the document itself, which uses the phrase "crony capitalism" nine times.

Oxfam claimed "corporations from many sectors – finance, extractives, garment manufacturers, pharmaceuticals and others – use their huge power and influence to ensure that regulations and national and international policies are shaped in ways that enable continued profitability."

It continued:

Even the technology sector, once seen as a sector that is relatively above board, is increasingly linked to charges of cronyism. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has become one of the biggest lobbyists in Washington and is in constant negotiations in Europe over anti-trust rules and tax.

While no mention was made specifically of the world's wealthiest men, Oxfam claimed that "generous intellectual property rights enable those who develop technology to accumulate vast wealth that can be wildly disproportionate to the investment they have made".

A "human economy", as Oxfam described it, "would embrace technological innovation – not least for the untold improvement it makes to the lives of women through labour-saving technology. But as new technologies are developed, the question of who controls them, who stands to profit from them, and which technology is the most socially useful to focus on becomes ever more important." ®

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