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Inequality is a ‘ticking time bomb’, says Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus

Source | World Economic Forum

The widening gap between rich and poor around the world is a “ticking time bomb” threatening to explode into social and economic unrest if left unchecked, Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus said on Thursday.

The banking and financial system has created a world of “the more money you have, the more I give you” while depriving the majority of the world’s population of wealth and an adequate standard of living, Yunus told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Wealth has become concentrated in just a few places in the world … It’s a ticking time bomb and a great danger to the world,” said the founder of the microfinance movement that provides small loans to people unable to access mainstream finance.

Yunus cited Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8 and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union on June 23 as expressions of popular anger with ruling elites who have failed to stem the widening global wealth gap.

A 2016 report by charity Oxfam showed that the wealth of the world’s richest 62 people has risen by 44 percent since 2010, with almost half of the super-rich living in the United States, while the wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion fell 41 percent.

“This creates tension among people at the bottom (of the income ladder). They blame refugees and minorities – and unscrupulous politicians exploit this,” said Yunus, who is due to address Trust Women, an annual women’s rights and trafficking conference run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, later on Thursday.

“You don’t trust other people, so you build walls,” he said in reference to U.S. President-elect Trump’s promise to build a wall along the southern U.S. border to keep out Mexican immigrants that he said were rapists and criminals.

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