Something is wrong at the top of the pay scale, affecting those on other levels, according to new information released Monday by the anti-poverty group Oxfam International.
The group says a CEO from one of the world's top five global fashion brands has to work for just four days to earn what a garment worker in Bangladesh will earn in an entire lifetime.
Leading up to the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, Oxfam has sought to put inequality at the heart of this week's deliberations of the rich and powerful.
"The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system," said Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International's executive director.
"The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors."
In a report entitled "Reward Work, Not Wealth," Oxfam says 82% of the wealth generated last year went to the richest one per cent of the global population, while the poorest half — 3.7 billion people — saw no increase in their wealth.
Billionaire wealth, it added, has risen by an annual average of 13% since 2010, over six times more than the wages of average workers, and the number of billionaires rose at an astonishing rate of one every two days in the year to March 2017.
Oxfam listed a series of actions that government should take, including: Limiting returns to shareholders and top executives; ensuring workers receive a minimum "living wage"; pushing through policies to eliminate the gender pay gap and protect the rights of female workers.