OXFORD, U.K. ( — A new report claims just 62 individuals control as much wealth as half the world’s population, leading economists to speculate that the bottom half must not be trying very hard.

“It’s shocking that the 62 richest people on Earth had wealth ($1.76 trillion) equivalent to the poorest 3.6 billion people,” said Marcus Scott, an economist at Xyrp Asset Management. “You have to ask yourself, ‘Combined, all those folks can’t even earn as much as just five-dozen people? Honestly, it’s like they’re not even trying. No wonder they’re poor.’”
The Oxfam study, released this week, suggests several steps that can close the income gap, such as, “pay workers a living wage,” “promote women’s economic equality,” and “crack down on international tax havens.” But to Fox Business analyst Tracey Neidermeir, the unaffluent should start by making better decisions.
“The poor spend their days buying cheap food and discount socks and paying rent on horrible little apartments, which is a diversified portfolio, granted, but in the wrong sectors,” Neidermeir said. “Instead of food, clothing, and shelter, right now people should be thinking treasury bonds, healthcare stocks, and Iranian energy infrastructure.”
Critics of the wealth gap argue the poor don’t have the financial power to invest like the wealthy do, a situation economist Alex Feinstrobe said is easily overcome.
“If you don’t have the finances to do those things – and admittedly a lot of people don’t – there are other steps that don’t involve large amounts of money,” Feinstrobe said. “For instance, networking can pay huge dividends. So play golf with a Federal Reserve Board member, or go to a house party in the Hamptons, or have lunch with a fellow Harvard Business School graduate.
“I think that’s the difference,” Feinstrobe said. “Did those other 3.6 billion people think to do even one of those things? Even one? That’s rhetorical. The answer is ‘Of course not.’”
Meanwhile, in a detailed review of the Oxfam report, Forbes magazine calculated the average wealth of the top 62 individuals at $28 billion, while the average person in the lower 3.6 billion was worth $488. (See graph above) As a result, Forbes concluded the rich are 56 million times better people, an improvement from 2010, when they were only 45 million times better.
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