According to the British NGO Oxfam, the cumulative wealth of billionaires has increased by $5 trillion, reaching its highest level ever.
Despite what you might think, since the global pandemic started in 2020, the rich are even richer, reaching some $13.8 trillion. The world now has a new billionaire every twenty-six hours. On the other hand, since the beginning of the pandemic, 160 million people have fallen into poverty. According to the NGO Oxfam, the wealth of the ten richest men in the world has doubled since the beginning of the year 2020.
According to Forbes magazine, these 10 billionaires include, among others, the American entrepreneur Elon Musk, the founder of the e-commerce site Amazon, Jeff Bezos, or the owner of the luxury group LVMH, Bernard Arnault. “Growing economic, gender and racial inequalities and inequalities between countries are destroying our world,” denounces the anti-poverty NGO, in its report “Inequality Kills“, published on Monday 17 January, a few days before the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The NGO adds that “we can overcome extreme poverty through progressive taxation” and free public health systems for all. “A one-time 99% tax on the income from the pandemic of the ten richest men would produce enough vaccines for the world, provide universal social and medical protection, finance climate adaptation and reduce gender-based violence in eighty countries.” It specifies that this would still leave “8 billion more than before the pandemic to these men“.
According to Oxfam, inequality contributes to the death of “at least 21,000 people a day“, based on deaths from lack of access to health care, hunger and the climate crisis. “The billionaires have had a tremendous pandemic. Central banks have pumped trillions of dollars into the financial markets to save the economy, many of which have ended up in the pockets of billionaires.” In France alone, seven million people need food aid to live, or 10% of the population, and four million more people are in a vulnerable situation because of the crisis.
Cécile Duflot, Executive Director of Oxfam France, appeals: “Inequalities are not a fatality. The future president of the Republic will have to learn the lessons of the crisis, by making the choice to rebuild a fairer economic model, at the service of all citizens, more sustainable in the face of the threatening climate crisis, and more feminist to truly tackle gender inequality.”
Featured photo : © Vlada Krassilnikova