A few years ago, cities across the world witnessed the manifestations of a movement driven by social and economic inequality. The ever-growing wealth gap between rich and poor became too difficult to ignore; it was roaring loudly in the faces of those most affected. Instead of running away, people everywhere came together to fight back. They rallied together in public spaces and shouted, “We are the 99 percent!”
The 99% who are left to share half of the world’s wealth, while the other 1% holds the rest.
Although The Occupy Movement has lost momentum, the issues that propelled the movement forward have hardly gone away. Global wealth is increasingly found in the hands of a small wealthy elite.
In 2014, 80% of people in the world owned only 5.5% of global wealth, while the top 1% owned almost half (48%). By 2016, the gap could become even more significant, with the proportion of wealth owned by the top 1% coming in somewhere around 52%.
This blunt reality is not only disturbing, but it’s also irresponsible. As wealthy individuals continue to invest their money in assets or place it in personal bank accounts, less money can be earned by the rest of the population; less money can be spent on the people who need it most.
There’s too much power in the hands of too few, and there’s not much holding them accountable for lending a hand to the underserved. A good portion of the world’s fate is left up to a group of billionaires who may or may not feel a sense of moral obligation to the rest of the population.
Fortunately, there are wealthy individuals who want to use their power to address society’s most pressing problems. In fact, this moral obligation has resulted in something called the Giving Pledge, a campaign that encourages the wealthiest people in the world to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes. The campaign was announced in 2010 by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, and since then, the pledge has been signed by 137 billionaire or former billionaire individuals or couples.
Take a peek at the infographic for more information.
It’s important to note that many of these individuals have already given a portion of their net worth away to separate causes or family foundations. Therefore, the dollar amount that will be given away from this day forward could be much less than their current assets.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that the world’s wealthiest can play a significant role in tackling some of the greatest social challenges. What’s less certain is whether or not this group will use this opportunity to work together to make observable changes in the world. With the development of the Global Goals, there is no better time for these individuals to unite forces with world leaders and achieve something monumental.
As September 25th approaches, the day when world leaders will formally commit themselves to the Global Goals, I urge the world’s wealthiest to join in on this fight against poverty.
“Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” -Henry Ford
Estimates show that there are currently 1,826 billionaires with an aggregated net worth of $7.05 trillion. In comparison, the Gross Domestic Product in Japan was worth only $4.6 trillion in 2014. Japan has the fourth largest economy in the world!
Together, with the right goals and resources, the world can end extreme poverty by 2030.
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