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Are the world’s richest 85 people going to hell?

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The Bible explicitly states that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. Never mind that spiritualists don’t believe in the biblical heaven or hell, having 85 people richer than 3.5 billion people in the world is one hell of a situation for the poor.

Oxfam International is based in the UK. Oxfam released a report on Jan. 20, 2014 that was titled Rigged rules mean economic growth increasingly “winner takes all” for rich elites all over world. 85 people own more wealth that the world’s 3.5 billion poorest people.

According to Forbes Magazine, the 100 world’s richest people in 2013 are ranked as follows. Carlos Sims of Mexico is number 1 on the list. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft is number 2. Warren Buffett is number 4. Larry Ellison, founder of Google is number 5. Charles and David Koch take up slots 6 and 7. The US has six of the top 10 wealthiest individuals in the world.

As we have all suspected, the really rich are getting richer at our expense.

“A recent US study presented compelling statistical evidence that the interests of the wealthy are overwhelmingly represented by the US Government compared with those of the middle classes. The preferences of the poorest had no impact on the votes of elected officials.”

While there are mostly millionaires in Congress, there is no logical reason to give preference to the 1% of the super wealthy except that these people are the ones funneling money through the SuperPACs to get those in Congress reelected. Doling out money is not free speech; it is buying influence and power at the cost of ignoring the will of the majority of the population. The wealthy are being well served.

To his credit, Warren Buffett has suggested that the super wealthy should be paying their fair share of taxes on their incomes. This is following the Golden Rule in the true sense. Nobody should be allowed to pay less than the lowest effective tax rate whatever their deductions, shelters and other means of tax avoidance.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International, summarized the wealth inequality in the report.

Without a concerted effort to tackle inequality, the cascade of privilege and of disadvantage will continue down the generations.”

In an Oxfam briefing paper Working for the Few published on Jan. 17, 2014, the major conclusion is that wealth inequality is a major threat to global political stability.

“The World Economic Forum has identified economic inequality as a major risk to human progress, impacting social stability within countries and threatening security on a global scale.”

“Oxfam is calling on those gathered at World Economic Forum to pledge to:

  • Support progressive taxation and not to dodge their own taxes;
  • Refrain from using their wealth to seek political favors that undermine the democratic will of their fellow citizens;
  • Make public all the investments in companies and trusts for which they are the ultimate beneficial owners;
  • Challenge governments to use tax revenue to provide universal healthcare, education and social protection for citizens;
  • Demand a living wage in all companies they own or control;
  • Challenge other members of the economic elite to join them in these pledges.

Oxfam is calling on governments to tackle inequality by cracking down on financial secrecy and tax dodging, including through the G20; investing in universal education and healthcare; and agreeing a global goal to end extreme inequality in every country as part of the post 2015 negotiations."

While it may seem somewhat like Miss America declaring her intention to help end world hunger, this issue of wealth inequality is critical on a global scale. If there is a continued lack of progress, the poor of the world will rise up to extinguish the wealthy. This is a war we do not need. The wealthy would be wise to consider these recommendations as a way to begin improving the sharing of wealth on a global basis.

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