World’s 10 richest men doubled their wealth during Covid, report says

The WORLD’S TEN richest men doubled their fortunes in the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic as poverty and inequality soared, according to a report today, ahead of the virtual diary opening from Davos of the World Economic Forum.

Oxfam said men’s wealth fell from $700 billion (612 billion euros) to $1.5 trillion (1.3 trillion euros), at an average rate of $1.3 billion (1.1 billion euros) per day, in a briefing published ahead of a virtual mini-summit of world leaders being held under the auspices of the World Economic Forum.

A confederation of charities that focuses on reducing global poverty, Oxfam said the wealth of billionaires grew more during the pandemic than in the previous 14 years, when the global economy suffered from the downturn. worst recession since the Wall Street crash of 1929.

He called this inequality “economic violence” and said inequality contributes to the death of 21,000 people every day due to a lack of access to health care, gender-based violence, hunger and of climate change.

The pandemic has pushed 160 million people into poverty, the charity added, with non-white ethnic minorities and women bearing the brunt of soaring inequality.

According to Oxfam Ireland, developing countries have been denied access to enough vaccines due to wealthy governments’ protection of pharmaceutical company monopolies. This has forced them to drastically cut social spending as their debt levels soar and they now face the prospect of austerity measures.

He said the proportion of people with Covid-19 who die from the virus in developing countries is roughly double that of rich countries.

The report follows a December 2021 study by the group which found that the share of global wealth of the world’s wealthiest people has soared at a record pace during the pandemic.

Irish billionaires

The report also revealed that the wealth of Ireland’s nine billionaires has increased by €18.3 billion (58%) to €49.7 billion since the start of the pandemic.

Oxfam Ireland has called for extreme wealth in Ireland and around the world to be subject to a wealth tax to help fund the recovery from the pandemic.

The group’s estimates show that a 1.5% wealth tax for Irish millionaires with more than €4 million could generate €4 billion in tax revenue. A 1.5% wealth tax on Irish billionaires alone could yield just over 0.7 billion euros.

Commenting on the report, Oxfam Ireland CEO Jim Clarken said: “Central banks pumped trillions of euros into financial markets to save the economy, but much of that ended up filling the pockets of billionaires in the midst of a stock market boom”.

“Now is the time to correct this imbalance through progressive wealth taxes, as well as other progressive measures such as debt relief and cancellation. Within the EU, the Irish government could set an example by introducing a wealth tax of 1.5% for the very wealthy, which would have a positive effect on Irish society as it recovers from the pandemic,” he said.

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He added that it was right that we ask those who have benefited the most from the pandemic to contribute to the recovery.

Funds generated by a wealth tax could have a transformative effect on funding Ireland’s post-pandemic recovery and could be targeted to areas most in need – the homeless and those trapped in poverty. increasing poverty of private rental accommodation, especially single parents. It could be used to modernize our struggling healthcare system and fund a just transition to a carbon-free society.

It would also allow Ireland to meet its long-standing commitment to spend 0.7% of its gross national income on overseas development aid.

Oxfam said tax reforms could be used to fund global vaccine production as well as healthcare, climate adaptation and reducing gender-based violence to help save lives.

The group said it based its wealth calculations on the most recent and comprehensive data sources available, and used the list of 2021 billionaires compiled by US business magazine Forbes.

Forbes currently lists the world’s richest man as the head of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, whose net worth is $268.1 billion, followed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at 188 billion dollars (164.4 billion euros).

Third on the list, the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, whose fortune is estimated at 186.5 billion dollars (163.1 billion euros), followed by Bill Gates at 134.5 billion dollars ( €117.7).

Other names on the list are Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, US investor Warren Buffet and French luxury group LVMH boss Bernard Arnault.

With the report of © AFP 2022.

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