Growing inequality resulted in 82% of new global wealth going to the richest 1% last year, while the poorest half of the world saw their prosperity flatline, a report by Oxfam has shown.
It means that of the $9.2 trillion (£7.3trn) increase in global wealth between July 2016 and June 2017, around $7.6trn (£6trn) went to 75 million people, while the bottom 3.7 billion saw no increase.
It helped spark the sharpest increase in the number of billionaires ever recorded, to 2,043, with one created every two days, according to Oxfam’s report, published ahead of the annual World Economic Forum of global political and business leaders in Swiss ski resort Davos.
The wealth of those billionaires increased by $762 billion dollars £550bn) over 12 months, it added.
Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, said the statistics signal that “something is very wrong with the global economy”.
“The concentration of extreme wealth at the top is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a system that is failing the millions of hard-working people on poverty wages who make our clothes and grow our food.”
He said a living wage, “decent conditions” and equality for women were essential if work was to be a “genuine route out of poverty”.
“If that means less for the already wealthy then that is a price that we - and they - should be willing to pay,” Mr Goldring added, as he pushed for a crackdown on tax avoidance and a revamp of business models that prioritise social benefit over shareholder returns.
Oxfam said tax avoidance by businesses and wealthy individuals is costing developing countries and poorer regions around $170bn dollars annually (£123bn), which could otherwise be allocated towards public services and “used to fight poverty”.