The widening income gap between the haves and have-nots is a top global concern for the 2,500 delegates attending the four-day World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In a survey of the 10 global risks of highest concern this year, the delegates ranked severe income disparity fourth. The top concern is fiscal crises in key economies, followed by high unemployment and a decline in the supply and quality of fresh water.
But the effects of income inequality could be among the most menacing to society's progress. In a press statement, the Forum notes that it is the "most likely risk to cause an impact on a global scale in the next decade" and says we could end up with a "lost generation" of young people.
Bankrate's analysis of income inequality in the U.S. found that from 1992 to 2012, the income gap widened among all age groups, but increased the most, by 21 percent, among those aged 35 to 44. Among those aged 25 to 34, the gap increased by 12.8 percent.
Philip Jennings, General Secretary of the labor group UNI Global Union, told Associated Press that the survey of global concerns provides "a wake-up call" to forum attendees.
"These are global issues we can do something about," Jennings said. "We can twist the global economy back into shape; this includes a new commitment to create jobs, address income inequality and falling living standards," he added. "Since the global financial crisis, it's been a race to the bottom in jobs, wages and living standards."
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