Oxfam has released its annual report on global wealth, ahead of the meeting of the world's elite in Davos, Switzerland this week.

The report reveals the biggest increase in the number of billionaires in history over the past year, with 2,043 people now able to claim the title. 

Two more Irish people joined this exclusive club last year - brothers John and Patrick Collison, co-founders of technology company Stripe - bringing the total number of Irish billionaires to eight. 

These include Indian construction giant Pallonji Minstry and Lone Star Funds owner John Grayken - who both hold Irish citizenship - businessman Denis O'Brien, Campbell's soup heir John Dorrance, financier Dermot Desmond and Glen Dimplex founder Martin Naughten.

The Irish billionaires hold a combined wealth of €34.2 billion.

The concentration of wealth is also continuing and Oxfam claims that the richest 1% took 82% of the wealth generated over the past year.

Billionaires' combined wealth grew by $762 billion in the past year.

Unsurprisingly the gap between billionaires and ordinary workers is continuing to grow, with the average billionaire's wealth growing by nearly 13% between 2006 and 2015.

This compared to average income growth of 2% for normal workers.

The report noted that it takes just four days for a chief executive from one of the top five global fashion brands to earn what a Bangladeshi garment worker will earn in her lifetime.

Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland's chief executive, said that the billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. 

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"The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors," Mr Clarken said.

He also noted that women workers often find themselves at the bottom of the heap. 

"Across the world, women consistently earn less than men and are usually in the lowest paid and least secure forms of work. By comparison, nine out of ten billionaires are men," he added.

Oxfam has called for governments to ensure the world's economies work for everyone and not just the fortunate few.

It wants to see returns to shareholders and top executives limited, while ensuring all workers receive a minimum "living" wage that would enable them to have a decent quality of life.

It also said the wealthy should pay their fair share of tax through higher taxes and a crackdown on tax avoidance, and urged increased spending on public services such as healthcare and education.

"Ireland must also step up and play a central role in driving change in the way global economies work. We need to use our influence and support initiatives which mean that everyone, not just elites, enjoy the fruits of international trade," Mr Clarken said.