According to Oxfam, billionaires added $5 trillion to their fortunes during the pandemic, worsening economic inequality while the virus forced millions of people into poverty around the world.
According to Oxfam, the total wealth of billionaires increased from $8.6 trillion in March 2020 to $13.8 trillion in November 2021, a greater growth than in the previous 14 years combined, according to figures published by Forbes. The wealth of the world’s top ten men has more than doubled in the last year, increasing by $1.3 billion every day.
The research was released ahead of the World Economic Forum’s online Davos Agenda, which will take place this week following the postponement of the group’s annual in-person gathering due to Omicron. According to Oxfam, governments should tax the super-gains rich’s during the epidemic and use the money to fund health-care systems, pay for vaccines, combat discrimination, and solve the climate problem.
“Billionaires have had a terrific pandemic. Central banks pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets to save the economy, yet much of that has ended up lining the pockets of billionaires riding a stock market boom “Oxfam’s executive director, Gabriela Bucher, stated in a news statement.
According to the research, the total wealth of the world’s top ten billionaires — which includes Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk and Amazon (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos – increased during the pandemic and is now six times more than that of the world’s poorest 3.1 billion people.
“Inequality at such pace and scale is happening by choice, not chance,” Bucher added. “Not only have our economic structures made all of us less safe against this pandemic, they are actively enabling those who are already extremely rich and powerful to exploit this crisis for their own profit.”
The pandemic has not proven to be the “great equaliser” that some had hoped for.
According to the World Bank, 97 million people would be living in severe poverty by 2020, with a daily income of less than $2. For the first time in almost two decades, the number of the world’s poorest people increased.
Vaccine inequality has become a big concern as many of the world’s wealthiest countries store vaccines, buying enough to vaccinate their populations multiple times over while failing to follow through on commitments to share them with the developing world.
Billionaires are being asked to put their money to good use by assisting the less fortunate.
In November, David Beasley, the director of the UN’s World Food Programme, urged billionaires such as Bezos and Musk to “step up now, on a one-time basis” to help end world hunger.
Musk responded directly to the request, saying on Twitter that if the organisation could explain “exactly how” the funding would address the problem, he would “sell Tesla stock right now and do it.”
When the UN released a plan, the CEO did not comment publicly.
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