Markets and Morality

Oxfam’s proposals demonstrate “misunderstanding of economics and poverty relief”



Julian Jessop quoted in the Telegraph

Mark Littlewood comments on "The Inequality Virus" report

Responding to “The Inequality Virus,” a new report from Oxfam, Mark Littlewood, Director General at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Oxfam is right to highlight the impact the pandemic has had on the world’s poorest. However, the charity’s proposed solutions demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of both economics and poverty relief.

“Taxing the rich ever more may make for good headlines but it misleads the public into thinking that cuts at the top will automatically lead to more wealth at the bottom. In reality, interventionist policies are far more likely to destroy wealth than successfully redistribute it.  

“If Oxfam is serious about lifting the poorest out of poverty, it should focus on ways to foster economic growth in developing countries.

“It could start by launching a campaign for global free trade, promoting private property rights in all jurisdictions, as well as the sound enforcement of legal contracts.

“This would do much more to lift people out of poverty than obsessing over the wealth of a handful of billionaires.”


Notes to editors

Contact: Annabel Denham, 07540770774, [email protected]

IEA spokespeople are available for further comment.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.