Inequality Inc: How corporate power divides our world and the need for a new era of public action


Since the year 2020, the five richest men in the world have doubled their fortunes. During the same period, almost five billion people have become poorer. Published by Oxfam International, this report was released in January 2024 and studies the ways in which concertation on power in global corporates is worsening inequality across the world.

The report provides recommendations to reduce corporate dominance in economy and increase equality amongst different sections in society. The report studies the dominance of big corporations and its impact on wage workers, climate, taxation and privatisation.

The 71-page document is divided into four chapters: A gilded age of division (Chapter 1); A new era of monopoly power (Chapter 2); How corporate power fuels inequality (Chapter 3); Towards an economy for all (Chapter 4).


  1. The report states that seven out of 10 of the world’s biggest corporates have either a billionaire CEO or a billionaire as their principal shareholder.

  2. The report states that 43 per cent of the global financial assets are owned by the richest one per cent. The same people cause the emission of carbon pollution which is equal to the amount emitted by the poorest two-thirds of the people.

  3. The report states that only 0.4 per cent of about 1,600 of the world’s largest companies are publicly committed to paying their workers a living wage.

  4. There is a huge page gap in terms of gender which leads to profit for companies, the report states. As per reports of the International Labour Organization and Oxfam, the gap is widening rapidly since 2022. The report recommends that governments should introduce and ensure the enforcement of laws on gender-based equity in pay and eliminating gender-based discrimination, violence and harassment.

  5. The report states that in 2023, Oxfam research revealed that patients living in poverty in poor countries were being “bankrupted by for-profit healthcare corporations”. These include extorting and imprisoning patients when they are unable to pay bills, denying emergency treatments to those who can’t afford it and failing to prevent organ trafficking by staff.

  6. The report notes that if each of the five wealthiest men were to spend one million US dollars daily, they would take 476 years to exhaust their combined wealth.

  7. The control of billionaires on corporates ensures their market concentration and monopoly, which is often enabled by government. This increased corporate power is in turn provides “ever-greater returns to the shareholders” while marginalising everyone else.

  8. The report states that participation of the common people in decision making in the nation will help decrease inequalities. Investment should be made in public infrastructure in healthcare, education and housing to ensure these are made easily accessible to everyone at minimal costs.

  9. The report adds that there should be laws and regulations to prevent large corporations from expanding their powers that might affect smaller businesses. It recommends a proper system for wage distribution and management within businesses.

    Focus and Factoids by Ishita Banerjee.


Oxfam International


Oxfam International


Jan, 2024