- The Washington Times - Monday, January 20, 2014

New research from the Britain-based charity Oxfam found that nearly half of the wealth in the world is owned by a select 85 individuals. Researchers are using that finding to persuade governments around the world to provide free health care for citizens.

In a report called “Working for the Few,” researches said that the richest 1 percent on the entire planet hold $110 trillion — or 46 percent of the world’s wealth.

“The capture of opportunities by the rich at the expense of the poor and middle classes has helped create a situation where seven out of every ten people in the world live in countries where inequality has increased since the 1980s and one percent of the world’s families now own 46 percent of its wealth ($110 trillion),” Oxfam said in a statement announcing the study, reported by USA Today.

The report didn’t identify the wealthiest.

Researchers are using the report to call for the world’s wealthiest to refrain from using their money to seek political gain. And they’re also advocating for companies to shine more intense light on their revenue dealings and record-books — and for governments around the world to use the tax revenues from the wealthy to provide universal healthcare, USA Today reported.

The Oxfam study went on, USA Today reported: “In many countries, extreme economic inequality is worrying because of the pernicious impact that wealth concentrations can have on equal political representation. When wealth captures government policymaking, the rules bend to favor the rich, often to the detriment of everyone else. The consequences include the erosion of democratic governance, the pulling apart of social cohesion, and the vanishing of equal opportunities for all. Unless bold political solutions are instituted to curb the influence of wealth on politics, governments will work for the interests of the rich, while economic and political inequalities continue to rise.”