“Inequality kills”. 10 richest men in the world doubled their fortunes during the pandemic

As usual, Oxfam releases the annual report on inequality at the time of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where the world’s most powerful businessmen and political leaders usually gather.

This year, due to the Ómicron variant, the in-person event was eventually postponed and, instead, the “Davos Agenda” week takes place, with virtual dialogues between various protagonists of the economic, political and technological sector.

The release of the document at this time seeks precisely to capture the attention of the elites to the problems of inequality.

“There has been a new billionaire almost every day since the beginning of this pandemic, while 99 percent of the world’s population is worse off due to lockdowns, slumps in trade and tourism, with over 160 million people pushed into poverty. Something is deeply wrong with our economic system.”, says Danny Sriskandarajah, executive director of Oxfam in the UK.

The report “Inequality Kills” (Inequality Kills) goes public this Monday to denounce what it calls “economic violence”, that is, political and economic choices of a structural nature, which end up benefiting the richest and most powerful.

According to Oxfam, Inequality causes the death of at least 21,300 people a day, which means that one person dies from inequality every four seconds. The main causes listed by the organization are lack of access to health care, hunger and domestic violence.

Since March 2020, the month in which the pandemic was declared, there are over 160 million people living on less than $5.50 a day.

This year, in addition to the pre-existing forms of inequality that are getting worse, the organization highlights the glaring differences in access to vaccination against Covid-19, with the “apartheid of vaccines” in favor of the profits of big pharmaceuticals and the richest countries, highlights Oxfam.

“In some countries, the poorest are almost four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than the richest. People of Bangladeshi origin were five times more likely to die from Covid-19 compared to the white British population in England during the second wave of the pandemic.

The Oxfam report is particularly critical of the world’s top billionaires. “A small elite of 2,755 billionaires saw their fortunes grow even more during Covid-19 than in the last 14 years total”, highlights the organization. This is the biggest annual increase in wealth among the most powerful since records exist, he adds.

Oxfam International takes a closer look at the fortunes of 10 of the world’s richest men, according to the magazine’s list Forbes: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault e família, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer e Warren Buffet.

In total, the wealth set of these billionaires went from $700 billion to $1.5 billion as of March 2020.

All have seen their possessions increase significantly since March 2020, but none like Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, who saw a 1000% growth in his fortune.

As a solution to the inequalities, Oxfam proposes precisely to tax the wealth of the world’s great billionaires.

“All governments should immediately tax the gains made by the super-rich during this pandemic period, in order to recover these resources and allocate them to help the rest of the world”, he suggests.

“For example, a single 99 percent tax on Covid-19 earnings to the 10 richest men would generate $812 billion”He estimates Oxfam, what would be enough to help a total of 80 countries fight climate change, as well as expand healthcare. Only this amount would still ensure equitable access to vaccines against Covid-19 in the world.

Even with this rate of 99 percent, the ten biggest billionaires in the world would, among them, have $8 billion more than they had before the pandemic, the organization calculates.

“If these men were to lose 99.999 percent of their wealth tomorrow, they would still be richer than 99 percent of the population on this planet,” estimates Oxfam International Executive Director Gabriela Bucher.