Press Release: Oxfam's wealth inequality stats are deeply misleading

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Commenting on Oxfam's latest inequality report (An Economy For the 1%), Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, Ben Southwood, said:

Oxfam is once again misleading everyone with its punchy wealth inequality stats.

By Oxfam's measures, the poorest people in the world are recent Harvard graduates with student debt piles. The bottom 2bn don't have zero wealth, but rather about $500bn of negative wealth. The poorest person in the world is richer than the next 30% put together. Having negative wealth may actually be a sign of prosperity, since only people with prospects can secure loans.

But there is a bigger issue with the narrative: more meaningful measures show greater equality. Those in the middle and bottom of the world income distribution have all got pay rises of around 40% between 1988-2008. Global inequality of life expectancy and height are narrowing too—showing better nutrition and better healthcare where it matters most.

What we should care about is the welfare of the poor, not the wealth of the rich."

Notes to Editors:

The Adam Smith Institute is a free market, libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.