Thursday, December 8, 2022

Are the poor getting poorer and poorer?


Zubair Yaqoob
The author has diversified experience in investigative journalism. He is Chief content editor at
The new Oxfam report claims a drastic impoverishment of the lower half of the world’s population. But experts disagree. World Economic Forum in Davos, the organization Oxfam again presented its annual report on the substantive inequality in the world, which attracted much attention always. The statement is once again alarming: While the wealth of billionaires at the top is growing strongly, the lower half of the world’s population has become significantly poorer again.


Oxfam provides seemingly accurate figures: The super-rich were able to increase their assets last year by 12 percent. In absolute terms, their wealth grew $ 900 billion a year, or an average of $ 2.5 billion a day. This increase is contrasted with the impoverishment of the lower half of the world’s population, which accounts for 3.6 billion people. According to Oxfam, this bottom half suffered losses of 11 percent or an average of $ 500 million a day last year.


These statements are also met with skepticism among distribution researchers. The economist Andreas Peichl warned, with such statistics, caution is required. For the poorer half of the world’s population, living mainly in Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America, there are no precise figures. He could not understand the Oxfam numbers for impoverishment. That the assets of the lower half should have declined so “does not correspond to the macroeconomic reality,” said Peichl, who heads the IFO Center for Macroeconomics and has been involved in several major studies on inequality in the world and in Germany. Rather, the global economy is growing, and poverty is sinking significantly in the world as a whole.


According to the latest data from the World Bank, the rate of the absolute poor, who have to live on only $ 1.90 a day (adjusted for inflation), has fallen since 1990 from 36 percent of the world’s population to just 10 percent. “Over the last 25 years, more than a billion people have pulled out of extreme poverty, and the global poverty rate is now lower than ever in history,” outgoing World Bank Director Jim Yong Kim said last fall when presenting the new one Dates. This was “one of the greatest human achievements of our time”.


Oxfam, however, complains: “Fewer and fewer people can free themselves from extreme poverty.” The World Bank says that absolute poverty is slowing down. Peichl also admits that there is not enough progress in large parts of Africa and regression in crisis-hit countries in the Middle East. “But the tenor of the Oxfam report that everything is getting worse and worse in the world, I expressly do not share.” Indirectly, he accused the aid organization to paint the situation in their favor: “There is a whole industry, the reports deserve to make things worse and worse. “And he added,” It is certainly not true that the poor get poorer because the rich get richer. This is not a zero-sum game. ”




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