Media release: Oxfam or Oxscam? Inequality propoganda exposed

Media release
16 February 2018

Oxfam or Oxscam?  Inequality propoganda exposed

“Oxfam should be renamed Oxscam as they disseminate false news and failed ideological propaganda, and promote policies that, contrary to their stated goals, maximise poverty and inequality and minimise prosperity for all. Their hatred of prosperity and obsession with portrays the opposite of reality, and disinterest in and disregard for the poor,” said FMF executive director, Leon Louw, at a media briefing in Johannesburg this week. Louw said, “I’m not denying inequality and poverty exist but I care about the poor not the rich, as do all decent people. Oxscam is obsessed with the rich (except themselves) at the expense of the poor.”

Oxfam’s original purpose – charity for destitute people - no longer exists. They have reinvented themselves as “equality” propagandists and lost their moral compass in the process. Oxfam now spews sensational claims in annual reports which misrepresent facts, make shifting and contradictory assertions, and popularise myths to advance a self-interested agenda while posing as champions of the poor,” he said.

Oxfam’s dodgy behaviour includes data manipulation, ignoring sexual misconduct for nearly a decade, and rewarding executives with banker-sized benefits and salaries*. Oxfam methodology has been questioned by reputable UK organisations such as the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Adam Smith Institute (ASI). The former called Oxfam data ‘bogus’ because ‘adding assets and subtracting debts to estimate net wealth’ implies that rich credit-worthy people with debt are poor and indigent people without access to credit are rich, which is patently absurd. ASI called Oxscam data ‘misleading’ because ‘all meaningful measures show greater equality not inequality’.

In seeking sensationalist headlines to popularise the myth that “the rich get richer at the expense of the poor”, Oxfam promotes envy, suspicion and conflict, and legitimises disinformation and calls on global governments to end ‘extreme wealth’ instead of ending extreme poverty. It provides no plausible supporting evidence.

Relying on dodgy interpretations of estimates from Credit Suisse and Forbes, Oxfam said in 2017 that the eight richest people in the world are ‘wealthier’ than the poorest 50%. In the 2018 report, their shocking headline was now 42 individuals own the same as the poorest 50%.

The bizarre point that contradicts their propaganda is that 42 is higher than 8. But – hidden in the small print – Oxfam ‘recalculated” the 2017 figure from 8 up to 61. Louw: “So tell us Oxfam: which is bad or good? Your previous alarm was that the number is declining; your new alarm is that it is rising. You never explain why either is good or bad.”

He continued: “News-hungry media soak inequality propaganda uncritically. The world is in the grip of an inequality frenzy fuelled by extreme claims. Power- and wealth-hungry politicians love it. They fund  the lavish lifestyles, status and power of inequality propagandists behind Oxscam flimflam.”

Louw pointed out that the reality is that the combined wealth of the eight wealthiest people is $440bn (Forbes). To put this in perspective, the world’s consumers spend about $363bn on just peanuts, and $440bn on all nuts, i.e. about the same as the assets of the eight richest people, whose income is significantly less. Credit Suisse estimates the world’s “wealth” (by a narrow definition) at $300tr, which means that the eight richest individuals own no more than 1/600th of the world’s income and below 1/600,000th of its assets.

Louw also said that Oxfam never defines what it means by “wealth” coherently when it says, for instance, that the richest 1% ‘bagged’ 82% of 2017 wealth and the ‘poorest 50% got nothing’. “This is patently absurd. If they received no wealth they would be dead because they would have had no food while the rich must be awfully fat because they must have eaten it all and enriched themselves by paying themselves for it”.

Humanity’s greatest achievement is that “extreme poverty” (as defined by the UN) has virtually been eliminated, life expectancy has increased from 30 to 65 years, and youth literacy from 10% to 90%. There has been an 80% reduction in world poverty (by standard definition) in only 36 years, from 27% below $1 per day to less than 5%. Welfare spending has risen up from 1% (of 1900 GDP) to 20% in rich countries, where child labour and youth illiteracy are both down to zero.

Oxfam’s policies are smoke and mirrors designed to deceive and play on public gullibility and guilt. Louw said it is time to confront and expose the ugly truth behind the disinformation and hypocrisy of the  organisation funded through governments by the rich people they deride and staffed by self-righteous rich  executives obsessed with wealth at the expense of poverty.

Click here to access the presentation from the media briefing.

Editorial Notes

  • Oxfam’s CEO earns R2.1m (£130k) plus expenses of R2.3m (+£12,000).
  • Deputy CEO earns R1.6m (£100k).
  • R11.6m (£700k) is spent on top 7 staff.
  • The number of staff with packages worth more than R1m (£60k) tripled in 1 year to nearly 100.
  • The number of staff earning more than R1.6m doubled in 7 years
  • Oxfam spends 25% of income intended for charity on salaries and running costs.
  • Only R5bn (£300m) from its R6.6bn (£400m) was allocated last year to ‘charitable expenditure’
  • The wage bill increased 48% to R2bn last year (£122m)
  • A “gender advisor” is paidR1m ($80k)
  • A “gifts officer”:R900,000 ($75k)
  • A “shop manager”:R600,000 (€40k)
  • A SA “intern”:R100,000

(Source: UK Daily Mail)


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