Wealth of world’s 10 richest men doubled in pandemic as inequality widens: Oxfam

The world’s 10 wealthiest men doubled their fortunes during the Covid-19 pandemic as poverty and inequality soared, an Oxfam study revealed on Monday.

The charity, which is focused on combating global poverty, said the 10 wealthiest men’s fortunes skyrocketed collectively from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion, at a rate of around $1.3 billion per day.

While the pandemic has made the world’s wealthiest far richer it has led to more people living in poverty, according to the charity firm.

Lower incomes for the world’s poorest contributed to the death of 21,000 people each day, its report claims.

Forbes listed the 10 richest men in the world as: Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, former Microsoft CEOs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, US investor Warren Buffet and the head of the French luxury group LVMH Bernard Arnault.

While collectively their wealth grew from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion, there is significant variation between them, with Musk’s fortune growing by more than 1,000 per cent, while Gates’ rose by a more modest 30 per cent.

Oxfam, which typically releases a report on global inequality at the start of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, said in its “Inequality Kills” report that over 160 million people are projected to have been pushed into poverty.

The paper stated that increasing economic, gender and racial inequalities, as well as the disparity that exists between countries “are tearing our world apart.”

“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,” Oxfam International’s executive director Gabriela Bucher said.

“This year, what’s happening is off the scale,” he said. “There’s been a new billionaire created almost every day during this pandemic, meanwhile 99 per cent of the world’s population are worse off because of lockdowns, lower international trade, less international tourism, and as a result of that, millions more people have been pushed into poverty. Something is deeply flawed with our economic system,” he added.

“This is not by chance, but choice: ‘economic violence’ is perpetrated when structural policy choices are made for the richest and most powerful people. This causes direct harm to us all, and to the poorest people, women and girls, and racialised groups most,” the study said.

“The pandemic has revealed openly both the motive of greed, and the opportunity by political and economic means, by which extreme inequality has become an instrument of economic violence,” Bucher added.

Source: Khaleej Times

— Agencies

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