You have done incredibly well out of our world today. Collectively you own the same wealth as 70% of the world’s population – that’s 5 billion people – and your wealth is growing by each coming day.
A number of you have made admirable commitments to give your wealth away, to fight poverty and diseases. But still we have an economy that is not working for many people. Alongside your extreme wealth, desperate poverty still exists.
All over the world, ordinary women and men are trying to build their own way out of poverty, and to fight for a more human economy – one that works for the many, not just the few. But they are hampered by low pay, by poor investment in health and education, and by governments that don’t listen to them.
Those governments listen to you, and you need to play your part. You are part of our societies. You too need tax-funded roads and bridges, a planet to live on, healthy, educated citizens and peaceful societies. You need to help, not just through philanthropy but by ensuring you contribute to a sustainable economy – an economy that puts people before excess profit, and a politics that works for all.
Am calling on you to ensure that you:
Don’t dodge taxes in your own countries, or in countries where you invest and operate, by using tax havens. Any companies you own or control should release detailed financial information about activities in all the countries they operate in – including tax havens – so that the public can judge whether your companies truly pay taxes where they do business. You should make public all the investments in companies and trusts for which you are the ultimate beneficial owner.
Demand a living wage in all the companies you own or control, and limit excessive executive pay.
Support increases in taxes on wealth and high incomes, to allow for the provision of universal healthcare education and social protection for citizens.
Do not use your economic wealth to seek political favors that undermine fair competition in the market and the democratic will of your fellow citizens.
Ensure your wealth is invested ethically and promotes a more progressive, equitable economy.
This letter was extracted from Oxfam.