Backlash as Oxfam says ‘extreme capitalism’ is to blame for poverty

By Paul Homewood


From the Watermelons Dept:


Anti-poverty charity Oxfam faced criticism yesterday after it blamed capitalism for causing extreme poverty.

A think tank accused it of ‘demonising capitalism’ and critics questioned why it was pursuing a political agenda while accepting millions in taxpayer-funded public money.

Supporters threatened to cancel donations to the British charity after a war of words broke out on social media, following Oxfam’s annual report into global wealth inequality.

The row began when a Twitter user criticised the charity, saying: ‘Oxfam’s obsession with inequality is unhelpful. Let’s focus on eradicating poverty through free markets, property rights, and international trade instead.’

Oxfam’s official Twitter feed responded: ‘At the moment we have an extreme form of capitalism that only works for those at the top.

‘That is why we are calling for governments to manage our economies so that they work for everyone and not just the fortunate few.’

The tweet drew condemnation from economists, and critics questioned why the charity appeared to have adopted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s slogan ‘For the many not the few’.

Dr John Hemmings, director of the Asia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society, said: ‘Capitalism lifted more people out of poverty in the 20th Century than state-planned economies and communism ever did.’

Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank, said the charity should focus on supporting the poorest people in the world, rather than criticising the richest.

He said: ‘Demonising capitalism may be fashionable in the affluent western world, but it ignores the millions of people who have risen out of poverty as a result of free markets.

‘Eradicating absolute poverty is best done by ensuring the right institutional framework exists to enable economic growth. Instead, Oxfam is promoting a race to the bottom.’

Twitter users questioned if Oxfam had become too political to continue to receive public money. Last year’s accounts showed it received £176million in public funds and its chief executive Mark Goldring was paid £127,000.

James Atkinson tweeted: ‘Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty and improved the lives of more people than socialism ever has. I’m unprepared to have your backwards politics pushed down my neck so I’ve just cancelled my donation direct debit. Well done.’

Paul Miller tweeted: ‘When did a respected charity become such a hard-left organisation with the intellectual prowess of your average comprehensive sixth-form?’

In Oxfam’s report, published earlier this week to coincide with the annual business gathering in Davos, researchers said the world’s richest one per cent took home 82 per cent of all the wealth generated last year, calling it ‘extreme capitalism’.


Read the full story here.


The Oxfam report contains the standard left wing fare – wimmin’s rights, renewable energy, tax the rich etc.

What it fails to tackle though, is that the real problem is not “capitalism”, but “corporatism”, defined as “the control of a state or organisation by large interest groups”.

It is increasingly remote national governments, supranational organisations, such as the EU, UN and World Bank, along with the lobby groups who infest them, which make ordinary people feel disenfranchised.

It is the large corporations and banks that benefit from ever more convoluted regulations, courtesy of the aforesaid organisations and which act to keep out upstart competitors.

In other words, the elite. We saw them all at Davos last week – big government, big business, big bureaucracy. They are all in it together to protect their own.

The same elite that loves to pat itself on the back at Hollywood award ceremonies, while at the same time hypocritically telling the rest of us what to do.

The same elite that tried to foist Hillary Clinton on the US electorate. And the same elite that sits in the House of Lords while openly defying the Brexit vote.

None of this has anything to do with capitalism as such. It is a pity that the report cannot force itself to mention the huge benefits capitalism has brought in the last century.

Or, for that matter, the disasters regularly wrought in countries who have tried the socialist route.

I have searched the full report, and it makes not a single mention of “communism”, “marxism” or “socialism”. Which is a shame, because that is pretty much what they are proposing.


February 2, 2018 at 11:39AM

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