5% of Italians are wealthier than the poorest 80%.

Oxfam data released at the opening of the work of the World Economic Forum in Davos

In Italy, in the hands of the richest 5% more wealth than that of the poorest 80%. It is what emerges from ‘Inequality knows no crisis’the new report published today by oxfaman organization engaged in the fight against inequalities, on the occasion of the opening of the works of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Between 2020 and 2021, the report notes, the concentration of wealth in Italy increases: the share held by the richest 10% of Italians (6 times as much as held by the poorest half of the population) increased by 1.3 percentage points over on an annual basis against a substantial stability in the share of the poorest 20% and a decline in the wealth shares of the other deciles of the population.

The wealth in the hands of the richest 5% of Italians (owner of 41.7% of net national wealth) at the end of 2021 was higher than that held by the poorest 80% of our compatriots (31.4%). The super rich with assets above $5 million (0.134% of Italians) were owners, at the end of 2021, of an amount of wealth equivalent to that possessed by 60% of the poorest Italians. Despite the decline in the value of the financial assets of Italian billionaires in 2022, after the peak recorded in 2021, the value of the fortunes of the super-rich Italians (14 more than at the end of 2019) still shows an increase of almost $13 billion (+8.8%), in real terms, compared to the pre-pandemic period.

Although greatly attenuated by emergency public transfers, in 2020 – the last year for which the distribution dynamics are ascertained – the inequality of net incomes grows, for which Italy ranks among the last countries in the EU. Absolute poverty, stable in 2021 after a significant jump in 2020, affects 7.5% of families (1 million 960 thousand in absolute terms) and 9.4% of individuals (5.6 million people). An alarming phenomenon which has seen the share of families with an insufficient level of spending to guarantee a minimally acceptable standard of living double in 16 years and which today sees the poorest ones more exposed to price increases, primarily for food and energy .

“The increase in the incidence of poverty was mitigated, in the emergency, by public interventions to support families, but the prospects for a decline are strong in light of the current risk factors for the Italian economy such as the impacts of the Russian conflict -Ukrainian and the growth of inflation”, comments Mikhail Maslennikov, policy advisor on economic justice at Oxfam Italy. “Family support measures must continue and be better directed towards families in conditions of greatest need. It is also essential to abandon the transitional regime of the Citizenship Income for 2023, reforming the only structural measure to combat poverty that we have ; as well as stimulating new agreements between the social partners aimed at rapidly redefining more effective systems of indexation of wages to prices, to provide adequate protection to less well-off social groups and less protected forms of work in low-paid sectors”, he underlines.

New agreements between the social partners are particularly needed for the approximately 6.3 million private sector employees (over half of the total private sector employees) awaiting the renewal of national contracts at the end of September 2022. Workers who are at risk, with the current indexation rules, to see an adjustment in wages, which fell in real terms by 6.6% in the first nine months of 2022, insufficient to counter the increase in inflation. If the improvement of the Italian labor market in 2022 will have to be assessed in the light of the risks of a new recession, the structural issues of the “labor crisis” in our country remain unresolved: the reduced participation in the labor market of the youth and female component, marked and growing wage inequalities, the growing use of non-standard forms of work and the consequent spread of poor work.

“If the spread of poor work represents a structural feature of the Italian market, the initiatives already put in place and the intentions of the new government give cause for concern”, adds Maslennikov. “Rather than discouraging the use of atypical forms of work that trap millions of workers in precariousness, the government widens the mesh for irregular work and calls for further measures to make it more flexible. The provision of a minimum wage is not on the agenda and the employment incentives – under the banner of “the more you hire, the less you pay” – are not evaluated under the lens of the quality and sustainability of the promoted employment, leaving the role for the development of good employment to the economic and fiscal conveniences of the companies” .

The reduction of inequalities represents an issue to which no government has so far attributed centrality of action and which has found itself reduced both in the last electoral campaign and at the start of the legislature. The new political season is distinguishing itself more for the recognition and rewarding of contexts and individuals who are already at an advantage than for the protection of the weakest subjects. Instead of making the basic income more equitable and efficient, it will be repealed from 2024, adopting a categorical approach to poverty for 2023 which, regardless of the context and local job opportunities, sees the impossibility of working and not the condition of need public support pass. Instead of putting an end to unfair differential tax treatments between taxpayers, schemes such as the flat-tax for VAT numbers are being strengthened. Instead of aiming for a merciless fight against tax evasion, efforts are being made to condoning interventions that debase fiscal loyalty and encourage opportunistic behaviour.