SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Truth in the Time of the Signs

Distribution of Wealth

Oxfam Inequality Report 2019 states – 

  • The wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by $900 bn in last year (2018) alone.
  • The wealth of poorest half of humanity fell by 11%.
  • In rich countries wealth is undertaxed, the average top rate of personal income tax fell from 62% in 1970 to 38% in 2013.
  • In developing countries, the average top rate of personal income tax is 28%.
  • Globally women earn 23% less than men and men own 501% more of the total wealth than women.
  • A child from a poor family in Nepal is three times more likely to die before their 5th birthday than a child from a rich family.

In 2018 Oxfam reported – ‘The gap between the super-rich and the rest of the world widened last year as wealth continued to be owned by a small minority.  Some 82% of money generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population while the poorest half saw no increase at all.

On 21stJanuary 2019, Time Magazine reported that the richest 26 people now own as much wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion (3,800,000,000) people, or poorest 50% of the world’s population, whereas previously in 2018 Oxfam had reported it to be the 42 wealthiest people down from 62 in 2017.

Oxfam said its figures – which critics have queried – showed a failing system.  It blamed tax evasion, firms’ influence on policy, erosion of workers’ rights, and cost cutting for the widening gap. 

Whilst levels of ‘extreme poverty’ by the World Banks’ definition, those living on less than $1.90 per day, have fallen since 2000, the rate of improvement has slowed and the UN 2030 Agenda targets are unlikely to be met with 700,000,000 people, 10% of the global population, currently living in extreme poverty.

Other poverty indicators;

  • The World Food Programme (a UN Agency) reported in 2017: ‘While record levels of funding helped humanitarian agencies to reach more people than ever in 2017, needs have continued to grow. This has resulted in a gap between needs and funding that is at a historic high and;
  • The latest estimates show that the number of undernourished people in the world has increased for the first time since the turn of the century, with 815 million people hungry globally.’
  • Oxford University / UN Development Programme developed the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) measuring poverty across a number of factors.  In 2018 they report; ‘acute multidimensional deprivations in 105 countries covering 77 percent of the global population.’

What does this mean?

Wealth in itself is not wrong but increasingly fewer people are receiving and hoarding greater parts of it while casting a greater influence over world affairs in which more and more people are going without the basic needs for life.

But a stark warning exists for those who fail to make use of their wealth for the care of others, there will be a reckoning and we live at the time of massive hoarding of wealth by so few people.

James 5: 1 – 5– Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.  Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire.  You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you.  The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.  You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.  You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.

Matthew 25: 41 – 43– Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

What else does the Bible tell us?– The Future

What does that mean for you?– Good News

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