Oxfam's wealth statistics are persistently misleading - Ben Southwood comment

In reaction to Oxfam's annual wealth statistics report out this morning, Ben Southwood, Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, said:

"Each year we are misled by Oxfam's wealth statistics. The data is fine—it comes from Credit Suisse—but the interpretation is not. It is not the wealth of the world's rich that matters, but the welfare of the world's poor, and this is improving every year.
"The fraction of the world's people surviving on less than $2/day has fallen from 69.6% in 1981 to 43% in 2008, and even lower now. The consumption of the world's poor continues to rise, as does their education, healthcare, and height. And remember, the global 1% includes around 5m Brits—most of those with a London house—not just oligarchs and plutocrats.
"Oxfam use Vietnam as a case study, bizarrely failing to mention that economy's incredible growth: income has gone up from around $100 per capita before the 1986 neoliberal reforms to around $2,000 today.
"Inequality is a side-effect of stability, peace, and growth; clamping down on it through foolish wealth taxes risks everybody's living standards."

For further comment or to arrange an interview please contact flora@adamsmith.org