Oxfam: Billionaires added $5 trillion to their fortunes during the pandemic

Using data compiled by Forbes, Oxfam says in a new report that the total fortune of billionaires rose from $8.6 trillion in March 2020 to $13.8 trillion in November 2021, a larger increase than in the previous 14 years combined. The 10 richest men in the world have seen their collective wealth more than double, increasing by $1.3 billion a day.

The report was released ahead of the World Economic Forum’s online Davos agenda, which will take place this week after the group’s in-person annual meeting was delayed due to Omicron. Oxfam argues that governments should tax the gains made by the super-rich during the pandemic and use the money to fund health systems, pay for vaccines, tackle discrimination and tackle the climate crisis.

“Billionaires had a terrible pandemic. Central banks pumped billions of dollars into financial markets to save the economy, but much of that ended up lining the pockets of billionaires in the midst of a stock market boom,” he said. said Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam. A press release.

The combined wealth of the top 10 billionaires – including You’re here (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk and Amazon (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos – doubled during the pandemic and is now six times higher than that of the world’s 3.1 billion poorest people, according to the report.

“Inequality at such a rate and on such a scale is happening by choice, not by chance,” Bucher said. “Not only have our economic structures made us all less secure against this pandemic, but they actively allow those who are already extremely wealthy and powerful to exploit this crisis for their own gain.”

The pandemic was not the “great equalizer” some have predicted.
The World Bank estimates that 97 million people worldwide fell into extreme poverty in 2020 and now live on less than $2 a day. The number of the world’s poorest has also increased for the first time in more than 20 years.

Vaccine inequality has become a major problem as many of the world’s wealthiest countries hoard vaccines, buy enough doses to vaccinate their populations multiple times, and fail to deliver on their promises to share them with the developing world.

Billionaires are being asked to use their wealth to help the less fortunate.

David Beasley, director of the United Nations World Food Programme, called on billionaires, including Bezos and Musk, to “act now, in a timely manner” to help solve world hunger in November.

The call received a direct response from Musk, who later said on Twitter that if the organization could explain “exactly how” the funding would solve the problem, he would “sell Tesla stock right now and do it.”

The CEO did not respond publicly when the UN released a plan.

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