Oxfam said today that the world's 100 richest people could easily afford to end the hunger, thirst and basic illness of every person of Earth.
The charity demanded an end to "extreme wealth" as David Cameron prepared for next week's annual billionaire bash at the Davos World Economic Forum.
The event, held at a Swiss ski resort, attracted 70 billionaires last year to hobnob with world leaders and mere millionaires who were "committed to improving the world."
The guests' total wealth was £269 billion - enough to wipe out poverty seven times over.
Even a quarter of the world's hundred richest people's annual income would be enough to supply basic health care, food and clean drinking water for everyone, costing about £37.5bn.
Since 1990 the billionaires and millionaires making up the world's richest 1 per cent have seen their incomes grow by 60 per cent.
And they have grown even faster since the 2008 financial crash.
Oxfam chief executive Barbara Stocking said David Cameron and other world leaders could no longer pretend that pouring wealth into already overflowing pockets was an economic cure-all.
"In a world where even basic resources such as land and water are increasingly scarce, we cannot afford to concentrate assets in the hands of a few and leave the many to struggle over what's left."
She said that the "first step" should be a return to the income inequality levels of 1990.
"It is time our leaders reformed the system so that it works in the interests of the whole of humanity rather than a global elite."
The TUC backed Ms Stocking's call, but general secretary Frances O'Grady said only strong unions could win the world a pay rise.
Skyrocketing inequality was largely behind the ongoing economic crisis, she said, with ordinary workers forced into debt and the wealthiest seeking ever-riskier investments against a falling rate of profit.
"Working people and the global poor need a real boost to their incomes if we're to escape from decades of stagnant growth and social strife.
"And rich people need to pay their taxes and curb their greed - voluntarily or not," she said.
The call also follows revelations in August that the world's richest companies and individuals have stashed at least £13 trillion in tax havens.
The Tax Justice Network's groundbreaking report found the real figure excluding assets could be up to £20trn - nearly three times the size of the historic 2008 US banking bailout.
Researchers also found tax havens left many countries mired in debt when they should have been turning surpluses.
The study of 139 low-to-middle income countries found aggregate net debts of £2.6trn, when taxable income on offshore wealth would have seen a combined surplus of between £6.4bn and £8.3trn instead.
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