Wealth of 10 Richest Men Doubled During Pandemic, Incomes of 99% of Humanity Drop, Oxfam Says
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have helped doubling of fortunes of the world's ten richest people, who now are six times wealthier than the poorest 3.1 billion people, Oxfam, international charitable NGO, reported on Monday, ahead of the World Economic Forum's Davos from 17-21 January.
"The world's ten richest men more than doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion —at a rate of $15,000 per second or $1.3 billion a day— during the first two years of a pandemic that has seen the incomes of 99 percent of humanity fall and over 160 million more people forced into poverty," the Oxfam statement said.
Oxfam observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has facilitated such an unprecedented rise of billionaires’ wealth, which has grown more than in the last 14 years, making them six times more wealthier than the poorest 3.1 billion people around the world.
"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. Vaccines were meant to end this pandemic, yet rich governments allowed pharma billionaires and monopolies to cut off the supply to billions of people," Oxfam International's Executive Director Gabriela Bucher said.
Meanwhile, Oxfam claims that growing inequality contributes to the daily deaths of at least 21,000 people who suffer from limited access to health care, gender-based violence, malnutrition and climate disruption.
A one-time 99% tax on the pandemic revenues of the ten richest people could cover the production of enough vaccines for the entire population across the world, provide for universal healthcare and social protection, and fund climate adaptation and combating gender-based violence in more than 80 countries.
"It has never been so important to start righting the violent wrongs of this obscene inequality by clawing back elites’ power and extreme wealth including through taxation — getting that money back into the real economy and to save lives," Bucher stressed.
According to Oxfam, there is no shortage of money in the global economy today, given that governments have committed $16 trillion to counter the pandemic. The actual problem is the governments’ sluggishness in preventing extreme enrichment of the elite that perpetuates inequality and unleashes economic violence against the majority of the world's population.