World's Richest 1 Percent Control Half Of Global Wealth

The relief organization Oxfam says the wealthiest 85 people own the same proportion as the planet's poorest 3.5 billion people.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with the world's richest people.

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INSKEEP: In particular, a focus here on the 85 richest people in the world. Those 85 rich people have a combined wealth of $1.7 trillion, we're told, which is the equivalent to the amount of wealth shared by the poorest half of the entire world population.

The new findings were part of a study released yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The same study also calculates that the world's richest 1 percent - so a slightly larger group now - controls almost 50 percent of global wealth.

The report also says that tax rates for the richest people have fallen in most developed countries since the 1970s.

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