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Shelly Hagan, Bloomberg:

The global economy created a record number of billionaires last year, exacerbating inequality amid a weakening of workers’ rights and a corporate push to maximize shareholder returns, charity organization Oxfam International said in a new report.

The world now has 2,043 billionaires, after a new one emerged every two days in the past year, the nonprofit organization said in a report published Monday. The group of mostly men saw its wealth surge by $762 billion, which is enough money to end extreme poverty seven times over, according to Oxfam.

“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. “The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited.”

Oxfam called on governments to limit shareholder and executive returns, while ensuring workers receive a living wage. It also recommended eliminating the gender pay gap and raising taxes on the wealthy, among other suggestions.

“People are ready for change,” Byanyima said. “They want a limit on the power and the wealth which sits in the hands of so few.”

Paul Ciano

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