back to article Tech moguls dominate Oxfam's rich people Hateful 8

Five of the world's eight fattest fat cats, whose collective wealth equals that of the world's 3.6 billion poorest people – according to a new report by Oxfam – are technology billionaires. Leading the pack is the charity-committed Bill Gates, with $75bn he's honestly trying to get rid of. Carlos Slim Helú has a net worth of $ …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    And if those 8 divvied up their wealth to the poorest 1/2 of the worlds population will that change things? Not really. The next 8 will have more money than x percent of the population.

    Now, just because Oxfam's directors are paid less than £125,000 a year (2015), it seems they want to bitch about the rest of the rich. When they give their time for free as their shop workers do, then they can complain - and put that £125k x number of directors to relief efforts.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Well, actually it would. By mathematical identity, it would double their wealth. Most people would call that a big difference.

      "The man who dies rich, dies disgraced" - Andrew Carnegie. I honestly wish the obscenely rich would feel more of an obligation to share their money. I don't know of any sensible way of forcing them to do so, but naming and shaming is perfectly reasonable.

      1. Toltec

        "Well, actually it would. By mathematical identity, it would double their wealth. Most people would call that a big difference."

        If you distribute it by doubling their wealth then those with more wealth will become much better off than the very poorest. Those just above the upper threshold for this largess would then drop down in wealth ranking towards the bottom quarter. As pointed out in another post many of the poorest are in debt so much of this money would then be transferred straight to people with more money and so end up trickling back upwards anyway.

        Getting the very rich to engage in humanitarian works and use their wealth improve the quality of life for those less fortunate would be a much better goal rather than just complaining about how much of the world's money they have.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well, for most of them, it wouldn't double their wealth. Most of those poorest 50% of the worlds population have zero wealth or debts.

        Interestingly, one of the things that Oxfam don't point out in this now annual report is that people like me make up a good proportion of those poorest 50%. I have a university degree, well paid job in IT and have just bought my own flat, but when you summate all my debts and assets, I have a net debt.

        It's kind of like defining "the poverty line" as a set percentage of income (usually <60% of median) and then complaining that people are still in poverty.

    2. Naselus

      um... the next 8 would (by definition) have less money combined that this 8 (significantly less, given Gates' enormous lead), and you'd have doubled the cash of the poorest half. So at best they'd have as much as the poorest 25%, but in actual fact somewhat lower (the next 8 have about 30% less combined wealth than the top 8).

      So yeah, we'd go from a situation where 8 people have as much as 51% of the rest of the population combined, to one where the top 8 people have about as much as the bottom 16%. That's a fairly big change, as it happens, not least because you've doubled the wealth of half the population and lifted about a billion people out of poverty in the process.

      1. Jagged

        I doubt it because the reason so many are so poor is because they are in debt. Share a billion dollars with a billion of the poorest and they will probably still be in debt.

        Better to spend the money on improving their conditions. Should the Gates foundation actually find a cure for malaria, that would be a real change.

        1. Red Bren

          "the reason so many are so poor is because they are in debt."

          Is it? Why are they in debt? Did they all start off with the same as everyone else, but they ran up huge debts buying 50" plasma TVs? Or were they born into poverty, barely subsisting from one week to the next, just one disaster away from destitution. And when disaster inevitably strikes, it's Hobson's choice between the loan shark or hungry children? Perhaps they didn't even choose to go into debt, but a corrupt and bribe-able government effectively turned them over to indentured servitude, bailing out a bankrupt finance sector that then holds them to ransom with the threat of eviction? Maybe they've been dispossessed of their land and way of life so that the underlying mineral wealth can be exploited, but they will never get a share of the spoils?

          It's always their own feckless, lazy fault that the poor live in poverty; it's those zero hour contracts they insist on. If only they would put in some honest 48-hour days on the minimum wage and they could be all be millionaires overnight!

      2. Daniel 18

        Maybe, maybe not...

        Shifting that amount of wealth would greatly increase the amount of money chasing the things that the poorest people need. Since this does little to increase the amount of such goods, one likely result is massive inflation in the poorer countries, resulting in a new 'poverty line' and a similar number of similarly deprived people. This seems to be aimed at the wrong side (demand) of the supply/demand balance.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          @Daniel 18 -- Re: Maybe, maybe not...

          Have an upvote. I was waiting to see if anyone would pick up the inflation part of this. I don't think this is limited to just the poorer countries. Give people more money or if they earn more, prices go up.

        2. nijam

          Re: Maybe, maybe not...

          > This seems to be aimed at the wrong side (demand) of the supply/demand balance.

          Absolutely agree - Oxfam are playing the politics of jealously here.

          Of all the people I might consider listening to on this subject, the well-paid, generously-expensed management of Oxfam isn't near the top, for that matter.

    3. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Will that change things?

      Well, in most cases, that money started off in your pocket (and the pockets of people like you) and ended up in their pockets either because you volunteered to pay over the odds for their wares or because they were subsequently-convicted monopolists and you didn't have much choice in the matter.

      Either way, even assuming all that money eventually ends up being spent on philanthropic purposes, would you not prefer to make your own decision about where to make your charitable donations rather than giving the money to Bill Gates and getting him to do it for you?

      1. Al fazed

        Re: Will that change things?

        This math assumes that none of the poorest people are reading the Register.

        I cannot remember the last bit of software or hardware that I personally bought.

        I did receive a grant (from ESF) which paid for a PC, a desk, an orthopeadic operators chair, a printer and Windows XP and MS Office licences. This was in 1999, and in 2000 I couldn't afford to upgrade so by 2001 I was in the Linux supporters camp because of the free stuff.

        I still do almost everything I do on someone elses old grey box, with XP chugging along on it's licence, not connected to t'internet of course.

        I blagged a licence for Windows 7 Pro from a community learning centre, installed now another cast away grey box, so I can still enjoy (?) t'internet stuff like eMail and the Register. Otherwise, aged 64 I would be joining some of my friends who have taken up music or gardening and those other friends who have never had a PC still, and who do not have a smart phone and do not need one or want one.

        Having graduated at age 50 with a 2.2 in Info Sys in 2006, I still have to find work that pays enough money for me to consider putting up with other peoples IT problems in exchange. So I do it for free, working with disadvantaged people in the UK, sorting out the digital shite from digital usefulness. I work with people who will never have a PC, because they do not have disposable incomes, because they do not have anywhere like a "home" where they can plug in any type electronic device, because they cannot read well enough to use one, because their memories are no longer capable and so they could never manage to stay on top of all that crap which is trying to take over their lives, via phone calls, SPAM, popup adverts, critical updates, hardware failures, etc.

        If we received some of the richest peoples money, would we buy IT equipment with it. Not when people first need somewhere to live, or if they have Alzhiemers, or they have already overdosed on Microsoft, Apple products and the t'internet of Tings.

        ALF

    4. toughluck

      I've taken a look at Forbes 400. Top 10 richest have ~ 523 billion between them. If you divided it all between everyone around the world, everyone would get about 70 bucks.

      I suppose if you took all the money of everyone and divided it up, you'd still end up with some 120 dollars per person. That money isn't very useful in the middle of a jungle or desert.

      How far does that go? A few weeks later, everyone gets their paychecks and we're back to current wealth distribution.

      Digging a few thousand wells or building some schools goes much further than that.

    5. Uffish

      The richest 10%

      Only eight people, I thought, someone like the BOFH could have the lot of them gift wrapped in carpets and rapidly disappearing in a lime pit over a weekend given a bit of planning time. OK, it would only result in some wealth distribution at the very top, but at least it might start encouraging philanthropy.

      And why stop at such a small number of people, why not the whole top 10% - surely a doable number for a suitably Machiavellian charity? Then I looked at the figures, you only need 60 or 70 thousand USDs of net wealth to be in the top 10% of wealthiest people in the world - help, my mortgage is paid off, I'll be on my own hit list! The top 10% own about 80% of the worlds wealth.

      TLDR: If you are in the top 10% of wealthy people the moral obligations on you are much the same as those on a billionaire.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The richest 10% @Uffish

        If you are in the top 10% of wealthy people the moral obligations on you are much the same as those on a billionaire.

        On an income (as opposed to wealth) basis, an annual income of about €/$/£ 30k is enough to put you not merely in the top 10%, but the top 1%.

        And that 30k would not necessarily just be earned income, but would include any pensions, state benefits in cash or kind, imputed income (such as the financial benefit of a house you owned and lived in), the value of any free state services like roads, state education, policing, civil justice etc. I'd assume that almost all readers of the Reg would qualify as members of the global 1% on an income basis.

  2. Nevermind

    Hmm...

    Worth a look:-

    https://order-order.com/2017/01/16/it-would-take-150-years-for-oxfam-to-raise-as-much-as-8-billionaires-they-attack-today/

    1. Naselus

      Re: Hmm...

      This would be a lot more convincing if 85% of the money the billionaires have given to charity didn't come from just Gates and Buffett. Also, most of their totals are spread over decades (Buffett has been giving to charity for 50 years, Gates for 20).

      So, another way to say the same thing is 'Oxfam does more for charity in a single year than 6 of the 8 wealthiest people on Earth, despite being vastly poorer than any of them'. Or 'Oxfam spent more money on charity in January than the second richest man in the world has given in his whole life'.

      Funny how adding a little context changes things, isn't it?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. MrT

    "The Wages of Humanity"

    Cixin Liu wrote a short story about 10 years ago which worked on the premsie that gradually fewer and fewer individuals owned more and more of the wealth of the planet, Eventually, one person owned 99% of the wealth, including property and so on, with the rest of society divvying up the remaining 1%, right down to the air they breathed. Everyone else lived in sealed buildings, with life support systems that recycled everything, and had to pay for the right to step outside. Kind of a reverse gated community.

    Reductio ad absurdum, maybe, but a good read.

  4. tmTM

    "They've got as much money as half the world, scolds charity"

    Don't use their stuff then??

    oh wait yea, where would we be without Facebook, iphones and Google???

    1. Paul 98

      Re: "They've got as much money as half the world, scolds charity"

      1998 it sounds like

    2. Triggerfish

      Re: "They've got as much money as half the world, scolds charity"

      Your names Aryn Rand and I claim my five pounds. :)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > Implying that all that money is just say under their mattresses and is not forming a part of the global economy through it's investments in banks and other financial institutions.

    Billionaires spending billions on "selfish things" is just one way of their money being re-distributed, in the same way that putting it in to a bank so that they might offer a loan to a shop trader is also a way of redistributing it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Billionaires spending billions on "selfish things" is just one way of their money being re-distributed,

      One area where I've come across the very very rich is in classic cars. Some of these are worth staggering amounts of money, but one result of their values having shot skywards is that a lot of them have had a lot a work done on them in recent years. That means people with old fashion engineering and craft skills are able to earn a living. Watching someone make a complex compound curved wing on a English wheel is a sight to behold, these skills are being kept alive because suddenly they are in demand. Without there being people with the means to pay the wages a lot of these skills would die out of the next few years as those old enough to have used them retired or died out themselves.

      As the old adage goes

      "tis the duty of the monied men to pay the wages of the artisan"

      The pisser is that it means a car I hoped I might one day be able to afford is now beyond my wildest dreams.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        But everyone loses

        when the multi-billionaire buy a classic car to restore

        Because 1 million people with 5K each can buy a whole lot more cars 1 someone who spends 10 million on a rust bucket ferarri.

        Thats the deal Henry ford worked out when he began making the model T, he paid his workers twice the going rate, the banks and rivals said he was crazy and never make any money, but his factories prospered and many ford workers bought model Ts

        Thats why "trickle down" economics does'nt work... because the more you give to the rich, the bigger the glass they can afford....

        1. quxinot Bronze badge

          Re: But everyone loses

          Henry Ford raised pay on his workers because they despised him and he couldn't keep enough staff in the factory to continue making his products.

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/03/04/the-story-of-henry-fords-5-a-day-wages-its-not-what-you-think/#48feb27c1c96

    2. Uffish

      Re: spending billions on "selfish things"

      Bill Gates had a great idea and made millions from endless versions of DOS, Windows and their Office Suites etc. Tim Berners-Lee had a great idea and gave it to the world.

      One is a squillionaire, the other is not - funny old world isn't it

  6. Merchman

    Intentions over words

    While Oxfam may be "echoing" the words of Theresa May, I would argue that they actually believe them and would like to see them put into practice. Where as May says them as a smoke screen to fool people, while she's busy selling off more of the UK's public services.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Intentions over words

      Maybe if the Oxfam directors put their money where their mouths are and reduced their remunerations to to the average wage then they might have something to say. Until then their words just add to the hot air being generated by the politicians.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Intentions over words

        To be fair, considering the size of Oxfam, and the amount of work, what would a CEO in a company expect for the same?

        1. Dave 15

          Re: Intentions over words

          Oxfam is NOT a company it is a charity

          When I give money I do NOT expect it to be spent on posh London offices and expensive CEOs I expect it to be used to better the lives of the starving children they feature on their posters.

      2. Al fazed

        Re: Intentions over words

        If they did reduce their salaries to that of the common man/woman, there would be no one at work in their swanky offices in Oxford. Not many can afford to live and work here so we have many commuters in cars making their way here for work from towns 20 miles away, making life rather smelly here.

        Even a directors salary at Oxfam would be unlikely to secure a mortgage on a humble abode in Oxford. It takes two professional salaries to get one mortgage. When your kids have graduated from uni, they cannot find work in Oxford which pays them enough so they can return here to live close to mum and dad.

        So do take a break from bashing the Oxfam directors for their earnings. Better to bash Oxfam business practice of spending only 11% of their income "in the field", and that field is in a foriegn land, Not in the UK

        ALF

        1. Ogi

          Re: Intentions over words

          > If they did reduce their salaries to that of the common man/woman, there would be no one at work in their swanky offices in Oxford.

          Where are the Oxfam offices?

          The only one I could find in Oxford was here:

          http://www.192.com/atoz/business/oxford-ox4/representative-office/oxfam-head-office/6559e696-7ada-464f-8720-f4375125c93c/ugc/

          And while a decent sized building based on Google street view, it doesn't seem that swanky. Looks more like any standard functional office block.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Intentions over words

          "If they did reduce their salaries to that of the common man/woman, there would be no one at work in their swanky offices in Oxford."

          Then move out of Oxford.

        3. nijam

          Re: Intentions over words

          > no one at work in their swanky offices in Oxford

          Of course.

          ... Swanky offices? Vital for a charity.

          ... Offices in an expensive, difficult-to-get-to location? Vital for an international organisation.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's just start with,

    wealth =! money

    so if you dissolved their wealth into money and then gave it to the worlds poorest you'd probably have a very large unemployement problem coupled with inflation.

    And it's shit like this that gets you countries leaving the EU and populists in power.

  8. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Hands up if you've got debts

    In which case by Oxfam's definition you're possibly in the bottom 10% as you may negative wealth. If you don't have any debts you're richer than the bottom 40% combined. because Oxfam either don't understand net wealth or they're being disingenuous to get headlines.

    http://heatst.com/life/oxfam-and-davos-do-gooders-are-talking-nonsense-about-inequality/

    1. tony2heads

      Re: Hands up if you've got debts

      There are loads of people in first world countries with negative wealth, like students with massive loans to repay, people stuck with negative-equity houses....

      The truly poorest are usually the ones without enough income to get a loan.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: Hands up if you've got debts

        Indeed, Oxfam's own chart shows ~7.5% of the bottom decile as being in the USA, but none of it being in China. Similarly my debts currently exceed my assets, the bank still owns most of my house, but I wouldn't consider myself poor, even if Oxfam does.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hands up if you've got debts

          Can you point out where you saw that? Their document I found says quite the opposite:

          "In the global wealth distribution, some people we may not think of as being poor show up among the very poorest, as they are in net debt. These people may be in debt but be income-rich, thanks to well-functioning credit markets (think of the indebted Harvard graduate). A number of such cases will exist. However, in terms of population, this group is insignificant at the aggregate global level. Figure 1 shows that just 1% of people in the bottom 50% are from North America, while 70% live in low-income countries."

          http://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/oxfam/bitstream/10546/620170/7/tb-economy-99-percent-methodology-160117-en.pdf

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Hands up if you've got debts

            Apologies, it was in one of the sources as detailed here: http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2014/04/04/stop-adding-up-the-wealth-of-the-poor/

            The USA doesn't seem to have any/many people in the next four deciles so with a bit of rounding both cases could be true.

    2. Triggerfish

      Re: Hands up if you've got debts @ skippybing

      I've got debts, and y'know what I am still probably richer than a large percentage of the bottom. Seriously the realy poor don't even have bank accounts, why would they when they do get money it goes on immediate priorities. I've been in shanty towns under flyovers in some parts of SEA, and they are still probably richer than say a lot living in slums in places like Delhi.

      Some debts balanced off by a income coming in to pay them, and still keep me fed, warm, clothed, in a country that provides free healthcare and education. Does not by any means make me poor in global comparisons.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: Hands up if you've got debts @ skippybing

        'Does not by any means make me poor in global comparisons.'

        Then tell Oxfam because their annual headline grabbing report is saying exactly that.

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: Hands up if you've got debts @ skippybing

          Really I thought it was saying the top eight people in the world.

  9. The Axe

    Soros

    Why isn't Soros listed as one of the billionaires. Could it be that he is one of those who funds Oxfam and that lefty lot so he's a good guy in their eyes?

    1. Naselus

      Re: Soros

      .... because he's not one of the 8 richest men on Earth (he's like 19th or something), so it wouldn't make much sense to list him in a comparison between the top 8 and the bottom 50%?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The issue is not how rich the rich are...

    ...but how poor the poor are.

    Making the rich poorer doesn't help, but making the poor richer, does.

    And lets point out that the Gates Foundations donations completely dwarf Oxfam's totals. Best gloss over that.

    1. Dave 15

      Re: The issue is not how rich the rich are...

      BUT

      If you are going to make the worlds poor richer then you HAVE to make someone in the world poorer. Normally this is done by making the middle class poorer.... after all the rich run the countries (like the UK) and don't want to lose their wealth and the middle class delude themselves into thinking that because they have a mortgage they are somehow not poor... despite the fact their debt outstrips their assets.

      To be honest I have never understood why we think it ok to pay mega millions to pop stars, football stars, politicians, people that get their boobs out on a tv show etc etc etc and even the likes of Clarkson and that redd headed nitwit that followed onto top gear.

      Why we are unable to pay people like engineers and production workers who do something useful I have never worked out (Germany at least pays the engineers a little better than we do).

      Ultimately though the fact is quite simple, the rich each year bag a bigger and bigger part of the worlds wealth, they horde it and everyone else is the poorer for it.

      1. nijam

        Re: The issue is not how rich the rich are...

        > If you are going to make the worlds poor richer then you HAVE to make someone in the world poorer.

        No, completely fallacious. Unless you're just going to shovel wheelbarrows of banknotes around, as Oxfam's proposal might imply - whether they're being naive, or just hoping their audience will be naive, (or of course both) is left as an exercise.

  11. John Lilburne

    One beef about the report

    "generous intellectual property rights enable those who develop technology to accumulate vast wealth that can be wildly disproportionate to the investment they have made".

    It has been the weakening of IP rights that has allowed the like of Google and Facebook to acquire billions at the expense of ordinary creators. These systems are purely parasites on creatives.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All that ...

    Then countries like mine go and give the rich tech elite a free tax sandwich. Go figure! There's 43k debt on the head of every man, woman and child in Ireland. All thanks to the former masters of the universe, banksters. So we could really use the tax money from Apple / Google / Facebook / Microsoft to help. But politicians only care about the elite!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An old story about tax that has been on the web for ages also applies in this case. If you try and take more money from the rich to pay the poor (the socialist ideal) the rich are very likely to pack up and maybe even close businesses so making the poor even poorer.

    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this;

    The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing

    The fifth would pay $1

    The sixth would pay $3

    The seventh would pay $7

    The eighth would pay $12

    The ninth would pay $18

    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59

    So, that's what they decided to do.

    The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.

    "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20."

    Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men -- How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

    The bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

    And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).

    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).

    The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).

    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).

    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).

    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

    Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

    "I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,"but he got $10!"

    "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar too. It's unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!"

    "That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

    "Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!"

    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

    The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

    And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up any more.

    In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

    1. Lamont Cranston

      I read the above as an excellent argument

      in favour of international cooperation and an eventual end to the foolish notion of sovereignty. Y'know, the sort of revolution that Marx wrote about.

    2. hellsatan

      If this was how we pay our taxes, then despite paying more tax than the rest, the 10th man would be stashing money overseas already and should likely pay many times more tax than he actually does.

      Further to that you don't mention that the 10th man recently put the 9th under pressure to fire the first 4 men and replace them with machines, and to renegotiate the contracts of the 5th and 6th men so as not to pay them a pension and remove their health cover.

      Perhaps if the 10th man actually payed his employees a decent wage, he wouldn't have to pay such a high level of tax in the first place.

      The assumption that the wealthy are deserving of their wealth is a giant mistake, and it encourages the notion that the poor are deserving of their pittance..

    3. Triggerfish

      Shit no you're Aryn Rand apologies to the earlier poster.

      Hows this.

      There were two countries and a man, in each country he made investments that returned lets say £500 pounds each, making a total of £1000.

      But one country decided it would quite like some tax money back and so his return was reduced to £450, making a total of £950.

      Being bit of a whining sort he threw his toys out of he pram expecting people to give a shit at his vastly (in his mind) reduced circumstances and refused to play with the country that wanted taxes. His income was now £500.

      Meanwhile some one else came along and was quite happy to take over his investment and make £500 minus taxes in the country that had now been left with a big gaping whole in it's market. This guy was happy with £450 before that he had only been making £50.

      You see you think we need someone like Amazon, no we don't Amazon, Starbucks etc etc need us. If Amazon withdrew its services from the UK who loses? Us? Maybe briefly while some people scramble for that market share, but in the long run we will get the service back. Amazon however loses a a 6 billion market, and for what? Because they wanted all 6 billion rather than say 5.2 billion? Fuck em, then.

      There's all this talk about sovereignty in this country at the moment, and yet you seem to think our goverment should be going cap in hand to companies and saying please sir can you take some more.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But generally in the UK the rich "avoid" taxes by lots of creative accountancy and the less well paid don't as they cannot afford such stuff.

      I remember back when there were means tested student grants in UK, with 2 factory workers as parents I got a good (but not full) grant.

      A friend of mine, lived in a huge house, his dad was an accountant, his mum a "lady who lunches", parents had a couple of v. flash cars got full grant, as with accountant skills / vile deceit (delete as applicable) their income was magicked down to sweet FA (and by same tricks my factory worker parents paid way more PAYE tax)

      Only little people pay taxes is as true as it ever was.

      (AC as misc personal details of myself & others in the comment)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. John Lilburne

      That isn't how it works at all, the richest have thousands of ways by which they avoid paying any tax at all. It doesn't matter how little they pay, they will also find ways to pay less. So to be more accurate the 10th man will pay less than the sixth man.

    6. Dave 15

      apart from

      The fact that for all the figures that say the rich pay so much more of the tax bill than the rest of us the honest outcome is that they avoid paying most of the tax they should and that they are still pocketing thousands of times as much lolly as anyone else. Never mind a luxury ship I wouldn't mind having the cash to buy a rowing boat.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Headline grabbing

    Although the wealthy have a lot of money, that is "lucky them" not "at the expense of others". You can't just say: "well... all the money's being horded by rich people so there isn't any left".

    Money isn't a finite resource: you can print more of it and its value is very volatile. You could take all the money away from the rich and hand it out, and it would ultimately make no difference. Poverty is a structural problem caused and solved by economics and politics, and is probably best fixed by education and technology.

    You might as well say "let's change all $1 bills into $10 bills and everyone is suddenly 10x richer"!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Headline grabbing

      You might as well say "let's change all $1 bills into $10 bills and everyone is suddenly 10x richer"!

      Didn't Mugabe try that? Oh, no - he tried let's take stuff away from people, in the name of equality, and give it to my supporters, and then blame others when the economy tanks and inflation adds zeros to the banknotes.

    2. Naselus

      Re: Headline grabbing

      You misunderstand.

      It's not that Bill Gates is holding all the $1 bills. His net worth is 75 billion, but no-one is saying that he's got it all in money, because he quite blatantly does not. He holds assets valued at 75 billion. The assets (minus debt) of the 8 wealthiest people alive are worth the same amount as the assets (minus debt) of the bottom half of the people on the planet.

      The assets in question ARE a finite resource, since at any time we only have X amount of stuff. If half of it turns out to be owned by a tiny number of people, then yes, it really is at the expense of others, because while we can expand the total number of assets in the world over time, at any one moment it's a zero-sum game. That we have reached a point where control of assets has become so heavily concentrated into so few hands is a sign that we are presently in a bad place, and historically the usual result of such concentration is violence and death on a huge scale followed by the emergence of unpleasant regimes.

      Money here is being used simply as a unit of account, not as a medium of exchange or a store of value, so your critique is fairly meaningless. The point being made is that the value of the assets held by the 8 people will remain equal to the value of the assets held by the bottom 50%. Money has literally nothing to do with it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone actually believe that these are the worlds richest people?

    If you had more money than these people would you advertise it?

    What about the Rothschild's? Surely 200 years of banking and previous extravagances points to a heck of a lot of money.

    As a society we have this all arse about tit, rather than highlighting the haves and have not highlight the corrupt governments that allow the haves to not pay their fair share to society, i.e. Tax. That goes for corporations as well. That won't happen because those slimy politicians are too busy taking back handers by way of after dinner speaking as soon as they leave government. Let see someone introduce laws to make that illegal.

    1. Ogi

      > Does anyone actually believe that these are the worlds richest people?

      No, these are the world richest people based on declared wealth. I.e. you declare your wealth, primarily for taxation purposes.

      Your Rothschild's et al are unlikely to declare all (or any) of their wealth. In fact it is highly likely that the real 1% are not even known publically, because why would you draw attention to yourself by going "hurr hurr look how rich I am". That is very "new money" behaviour.

      The old money just buys power and influence, and controls by proxy. Why paint a big target on yourself by getting into a public pissing contest over who is richer?

      Some of these families are richer than entire countries, so they don't really need to brag.

    2. PT

      No, they are not the world's richest people. They have their wealth in financial instruments, which are currently doing quite nicely, but if they tried to liquidate it to cash they'd all be a lot poorer. The real world's richest people own things - they're rentiers, not workers. Some of them own entire countries.

  16. RonWheeler

    Money

    is not the same a lots and lots of rice. Hand the money out,,they get twice as rich. They all go to buy rice, the price of rice doubles. Back to square one.

    The problem is a supply one, not a numbers one.

  17. DDearborn

    Hmmm

    And the list is top heavy with zionist Jews......take a look at how many of them supported Hillary Clinton.....All of them support the annexation of Palestine and the expulsion of the Palestinian people.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Seems

      old Henry's ghost just got tech savvy. Who'd have thought it. Trump's victory is certainly flushing 'em out.

  18. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

    A little piece I read a short while ago went something like "...If you took the all the money and divvied it up equally amongst the population, then by day's end >90% of the money would be back in the same hands..." which struck me as a very sensible outlook.

  19. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    A good read

    What else is there to say, quoting the text.

    "Ultimately it is governments which are responsible for the rules, regulations and policies that

    govern our economies and shape our societies. Governments can, if they choose, use their

    power and policy tools to have a huge impact on reducing inequality in a country, and work in

    the interests of those towards the bottom of the economic distribution and of society more

    broadly. Or they can stand back and let the gap between the rich and the poor grow,

    exacerbating the inequality crisis."

  20. MrKrotos

    "Charity" begins at home: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11435754/32-charity-bosses-paid-over-200000-last-year.html

  21. slowaociopath

    Never quite understood the logic of why people that have worked hard for what they have should be obligated to give to those that don't

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