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Oxfam’s new report on global inequality — which was released in January to coincide with the gathering of the ultra-wealthy at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland — lays out devastating but familiar, statistics: The world has 2,153 billionaires who collectively possess more wealth than 4.6 billion people at the bottom of the income scale. More than half the world’s population is estimated to survive on less than $5.50 a day, while the rate of poverty reduction slowed by half since 2013.
The report demonstrates that the global economy is polarized on multiple dimensions. Even as the gap widens between the extremely poor and ultra-rich, a chronic economic divide persists between men and women. Millions of people subsist on an income of a few dollars a day, and billions of women work for nothing at all.