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Growing inequality is not inevitable, the time to act is now

30 October 2014
Even it up: time to end extreme inequality

Oxfam has just released a new report that aligns very closely with PSI’s analysis of inequality and sends a profound message about wealth and poverty.

There is nothing inevitable about this state of affairs. The choices we make and the leaders we elect will determine if it continues or not.

The existence of such inexcusable disparities in wealth is not an accident. The accumulation of wealth is used to entrench power in our society, power that is used to protect wealth and cement privileges for generations.

The levels of inequality we see today are not simply unjust, they undermine democracy.

Oxfam’s simple message that working people must be paid a decent wage, everybody is entitled to quality public services on the basis of need, not wealth, and that those who have benefitted most from wealth should contribute most has a moral force in an age when the market is too often the only moral compass.

For billions of workers on our planet the only wealth they hold is public wealth. Their right to water, energy, education and health can only be realised through public services. Markets do not provide these outcomes for the world’s poorest and never will. Only public services funded through progressive taxation can provide basic human rights to the world’s most needy.

How can it be justified that wealthy industrialists and bankers rent vacation boats for $500,000 a week while each day people die preventable deaths through lack of clean water?

That more than $20 trillion sits in tax havens when governments say they cannot afford to keep essential public services open?

That multinational corporations exploit tax loopholes to sneak away more money from Africa each year than is received in total aid revenues? – even as we are reminded daily of the tragic consequences of inadequate public health funding in West Africa that has caused the current tragic outbreak of Ebola.

How is it that today many of the largest and wealthiest multinational companies in the world have simply stopped paying taxes?

The answers Oxfam provides are simple, smart and entirely achievable. All that stands between them and real change is a lack of political will. Our job is to make the cry heard. To give action to the urgency. To ceaselessly expose the injustice and demands its resolution.

The time to act is now. You can count on PSI, its affiliates and 20 million members to make change possible.

 

Rosa Pavanelli
General Secretary
Public Services International (PSI)

Read Oxfam's report in English here: Even it up: time to end extreme inequality

 

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