Just How Well-Off Are the World's Billionaires?

Just How Well-Off Are the World's Billionaires?

We all hear about the "wealth gap," but what does that actually mean?

A new report breaks down the disparity in eye-opening terms: The 85 wealthiest people in the world are now, collectively, as rich as the entire bottom half of the global population, according to a new Oxfam study.

In other words: Less than 100 people are worth as much as 3.5 billion citizens.

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The new figures were released on the eve of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, where business and political leaders discuss global issues. One of the focus points of the forum will be global income inequality.

"This massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people presents a significant threat to inclusive political and economic systems," the report concluded. Oxfam is now calling on the World Economic Forum to commit to a number of recommendations proposed in the report, including implementing progressive taxation, cracking down on tax dodgers and increasing minimum wages.

"In the last 30 thirty years, seven out of 10 people have been living in countries where economic inequality has increased," Nick Galasso, a co-author of the study, told USA TODAY. "This is a trend that has been unfolding globally for the last two or three decades. What we've not seen is any political will toward curbing it."

RELATED: The Wealth Tax: Could It Fix Our Current Economy?

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