New billionaire minted every 26 hours, as inequality contributes to the death of one person every four seconds, says Oxfam
ADDIS ABABA – 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 , according to Oxfam report.
The same period has seen the incomes of 99 percent of humanity fall and over 160 million more people forced into poverty.
“If these ten men were to lose 99.999 percent of their wealth tomorrow, they would still be richer than 99 percent of all the people on this planet,” said Oxfam International’s Executive Director Gabriela Bucher.
“They now have six times more wealth than the poorest 3.1 billion people.”
In a new briefing “Inequality Kills,” published today ahead of the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda, Oxfam says that inequality is contributing to the death of at least 21,000 people each day, or one person every four seconds.
This is a conservative finding based on deaths globally from lack of access to healthcare, gender-based violence, hunger, and climate breakdown.
“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,” she said.
Billionaires’ wealth has risen more since COVID-19 began than it has in the last 14 years.
At $5 trillion dollars, this is the biggest surge in billionaire wealth since records began.
A one-off 99 percent tax on the ten richest men’s pandemic windfalls, for example, could pay to make enough vaccines for the world; to provide universal healthcare and social protection, fund climate adaptation and reduce gender-based violence in over 80 countries.
All this, while still leaving these men $8 billion better off than they were before the pandemic, says the briefing.
“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,” said Bucher.
“Vaccines were meant to end this pandemic, yet rich governments allowed pharma billionaires and monopolies to cut off the supply to billions of people. The result is that every kind of inequality imaginable risks rising. The predictability of it is sickening. The consequences of it kill,” she added.