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  • A favela in Brazil

    A favela in Brazil's largest city, Rio de Janeiro. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 April 2018

In one of the world's largest economies, six men have the same wealth as the poorest 100 million people.

In 2017, the top 10 percent of the population with the highest incomes in Brazil held 43.3 percent of all the country’s wealth, while the lowest 10 percent held only 0.7 percent of the country’s wealth, new data has revealed.

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On average the one percent with highest earnings make roughly US$8,025 a month in a stark contrast with the average earnings for 50 percent of the population with the lowest incomes, who make US$222.

The data was obtained through Brazil’s National Continuous Household Sample Survey, which aims to determine the population’s participation in the labor market in association with demographic and educational variables.

A study published by Oxfam in September 2017, revealed Brazil’s six richest men have the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent of the population, that is over 100 million people. Analysts believe income inequality will only increase due to Brazil’s unelected President Michel Temer, who has been implementing an austerity plan that affects the most vulnerable sector of Brazilian society.

In 2016, after Temer was sworn in following the impeachment of democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff's on corruption charges she was never convicted for, the Brazilian Senate froze public spending for the next 20 years. Additionally, Temer’s proposed labor reforms were approved by the senate last year despite opposition by Brazil’s unions.

Now, Temer is targeting pensions through a reform that would increase the age of retirement and the required number of contributions.   

Austerity does not affect everyone. Civil servants in the judicial branch got a 41 percent wage increase, while legislators in the city of Sao Paulo voted to give themselves a 26 percent salary increase. Furthermore, Temer’s government has refused to increase taxes on wealthy Brazilians despite the fact that a higher tax revenue could help the country reduce its budget deficit.  


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