Twitter backlash as Oxfam blames capitalism for poverty

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Oxfam CEO Mark Goldring 

An apparently innocuous tweet causes outrage 

26th January 2018 by Robert Armour 4 Comments

Oxfam has created a storm on social media after tweeting that capitalism is causing extreme poverty.

Legions of supporters have since threatened to stop donating to the giant development charity and have called into question chief executive Mark Golding’s £127,000 salary.

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."

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?"

Oxfam later tweeted another message, in which it appeared to row back from its criticism of capitalism.

It said: "We recognise the key role that business plays in reducing global poverty but too often our economies are built to reward wealth rather than hard work. That is holding back the fight against poverty. In this shortened tweet we didn’t express this as clearly as we would have liked." 

26th January 2018 by Blair

I mean, in fairness Oxfam do have a very good point...

26th January 2018 by RealFreedom

@ Blair. No Oxfam do not have a good point. Government interference and the type of policies Oxfam advocates cause poverty. Oxfam will only be happy when we are all equally starving.

26th January 2018 by John Cunningham

This use of Twitter is yet another example of the unwise use of brief social media to express views on highly complex situations and matters of public interest. It is simply not up to the job and the sooner responsible people and organisations cease to use it the better as, on balance it results in more evil than good. Let the lesson be learned now before it does further damage to our society. If nothing else Donald Trump is a living example of this folly - what further evidence can possibly be needed to convince sensible people?

27th January 2018 by Craig Crostgwaite

He is correct though. If 84% of wealth is owned by 1% is that a cause for concern. Surely he has not said anything that economists have not been pointing out for so long? Sadly, the way the remaining 16% is spread between the remaining 99% working or unable to get work and the sick is uneven and causing unnecessary harm. And yes it is socialism. A modern capitalist system when working correctly can balance rewards for those working and supporting those who cannot for whatever reason. It is still capitalism. Look to the Nordic Countries and compare and tell us which model is best when the state has a responsibility to protect and nurture all citizens.