The combined wealth of the 85 richest people in the world is equal to that of 3.5 billion people -- or half the global population -- according to a report by Oxfam.
The report states, "The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world."
Among the report's other findings, it notes that 70 percent of the world's population reside in countries where income inequality has risen since the 1980s and 1 percent of families in the world own nearly half, 46 percent, of the world's wealth, or $110 trillion.
The report was published in time for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where one of the most pressing topics has been global income inequality and its repercussions for economic health. Oxfam is asking the government to take action to reverse what it sees as a troubling trend of the growing influence of the rich on public policy and tax reform.
Oxfam conducted polls in six countries, including the U.S., Spain, Brazil, India, South Africa and the United Kingdom, that show a majority of respondents believe laws are enacted to favor the wealthy.
"Without a concerted effort to tackle inequality, the cascade of privilege and of disadvantage will continue down the generations," the report says. "We will soon live in a world where equality of opportunity is just a dream. In too many countries economic growth already amounts to little more than a 'winner takes all' windfall for the richest."
Read Bankrate's analysis of the widening income gap in the U.S.
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