Growing social inequality: Ten richest people double their fortunes in the pandemic

Growing social inequality
Ten richest double fortunes in pandemic

The ten richest billionaires are doubling their fortunes, while 160 million people worldwide are falling into poverty: according to an Oxfam report, social inequalities have increased massively since the pandemic began. The organization calls for the wealthy to be held more accountable.

According to the Oxfam organization, the corona pandemic has exacerbated social inequalities. While the wealth of the top 10 billionaires has doubled, more than 160 million people live in poverty, according to a report released by Oxfam just ahead of a digital World Economic Forum conference. In Germany, too, the concentration of wealth has continued to increase. Oxfam called on governments around the world to tax corporations and the super-rich more heavily to fund basic social services, ensure global immunization justice and align the economy with the common good.

The charity said the wealth of the ten richest men has increased from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion, an average increase of $1.3 billion a day. According to this, the wealth of billionaires increased more during the pandemic than in the entire 14 years before.

In Germany, the ten richest people have increased their cumulative wealth from $144 billion to around $256 billion, according to the report by the development aid organization. This is an increase of about 78 percent.

Citing data from Forbes magazine, Oxfam lists Tesla CEO Elon Musk as the richest person in the world with a US fortune of $294.2 billion, followed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and French billionaire Bernard Arnault. The first Germans are in 31st place, Beate Heister and Karl Albrecht junior from Aldi with 43 billion dollars. New on the list at number 161 this year is BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin with $13.2 billion.

“Gold Rush” for billionaires

Oxfam has described global wealth inequality as “economic violence”. While the super-rich kept getting richer, the pandemic pushed 160 million people into poverty. Non-white minorities and women are particularly affected.

Manuel Schmitt, Social Inequality Advisor at Oxfam Germany, commented: “For billionaires, the pandemic is like a gold rush. Governments have pumped billions into the economy, but much has stuck with people who are particularly beneficiaries of rising stock prices. While their wealth is growing so rapidly growing like never before and taking some trips into space, global poverty has increased drastically.”

Vaccination rate in poor countries too low

In view of the global distribution of vaccines, the organization is calling for patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines to be suspended. Over three billion people have now been vaccinated twice against Covid-19, but only around nine percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to Oxfam: “Millions of people who could have been saved are at risk because of unfair vaccine distribution died of the pandemic and its consequences.”

Oxfam Germany also called on the federal government to hold corporations and the very wealthy more responsible. Wealth tax must be reintroduced, and a one-time levy on very large assets is needed. In addition, the tax reforms should be used to push global adaptation to climate change and the fight against gender-based violence. The annual conference of the World Economic Forum in Davos planned for this week had been postponed due to the Corona situation. Instead, the foundation brings top politicians together digitally. For example, Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to give a speech on Wednesday.

According to Oxfam, it is an international “emergency aid and development organization” that mobilizes people around the world to overcome poverty through their own efforts. To this end, 21 Oxfam organizations worked side by side with around 4,100 local partners in 90 countries. The organization produced the report on the occasion of a virtual summit of heads of state and government under the auspices of the World Economic Forum.