Oracle Founder in Wealthy, Controversial Club (ORCL)
Oracle Corp. (ORCL)co-founder Larry Ellison is part of an elite group of businessmen who have attracted the attention of income inequality advocates. On Monday, Ellison was listed by British-based anti-poverty advocate Oxfam as one of eight people who collectively own as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent (roughly 3.6 billion humans) of Earth's population.
The report is part of a paper calling for politicians and business people to address the consolidation of wealth at the top of the social spectrum. The release coincides with the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Oxfam’s paper is based on Forbes’ research and the annual Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook. The latter report has tracked the global distribution of wealth since 2000.
Ellison joins seven other men on the list. The others are Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) Chairman Warren Buffett, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) founder Bill Gates, Spanish industrialist Amancio Ortega, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, Amazon.com (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg. According to Oxfam and Forbes, Ellison is ranked the seventh wealthiest person in the world with a total net worth of $44 billion. (See also: 4 Forces Behind Income Inequality in America.)
"From Nigeria to Bangladesh, from the U.K. to Brazil, people are fed up with feeling ignored by their political leaders, and millions are mobilizing to push for change," Oxfam wrote in a statement Sunday. "Seven out of 10 people live in a country that has seen a rise in inequality in the last 30 years."
Oxfam calls the gap “obscene.” The firm says this income gap has expanded dramatically over the last year. In January 2016, Oxfam calculated that the richest 62 people on the planet own as much wealth as the poorest 50 percent of the global population. Oxfam argues that politicians and economists must make this a more important issue in the 21st century. The firm warns that increased inequality will fuel increased populism and geopolitical changes similar to the 2016 election of President-elect Donald Trump and the decision by British voters to leave the European Union.