Oxfam slams billionaire pandemic ‘bonanza’ as thousands and thousands face poverty

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A brand new billionaire arose each 30 hours through the Covid-19 pandemic, and practically 1,000,000 might fall into it excessive poverty at across the similar fee in 2022. These are the sobering statistics not too long ago launched by Oxfam.

There have been 573 extra billionaires on this planet by March 2022 than in 2020, when the pandemic started, the worldwide charity stated in a letter that was revealed on Monday, the primary day of the World Financial Discussion board summit in Davos, Switzerland. That equates to at least one new billionaire each 30 hours, Oxfam stated.

On high of that, it estimated that 263 million individuals could possibly be pushed into excessive ranges of poverty in 2022 due to the pandemic, rising international inequality and rising meals costs which have been exacerbated by the warfare in Ukraine. That is the equal of practically 1,000,000 individuals each 33 hours, Oxfam stated.

The group identified that billionaires had been collectively price $12.7 trillion as of March. In 2021, billionaire wealth represented the equal of practically 14% of worldwide gross home product.

Gabriela Bucher, government director of Oxfam Worldwide, stated that billionaires had been arriving on the Davos summit to “have fun an unbelievable surge of their fortunes.”

“The pandemic and now the steep will increase in meals and vitality costs have, merely put, been a bonanza for them,” she stated.

“In the meantime, a long time of progress on excessive poverty are actually in reverse and thousands and thousands of individuals are going through unimaginable rises in the price of merely staying alive,” Bucher added.

Pandemic windfalls

Honing in on hovering wealth in particular enterprise sectors, Oxfam stated the fortunes of meals and vitality billionaires rose by $453 billion within the final two years, equating to $1 billion each two days.

As an example, meals big Cargill was reported to be considered one of 4 firms that management greater than 70% of worldwide agricultural market, Oxfam stated. The company, owned by the Cargill household, generated a internet earnings of practically $5 billion final 12 months — the largest revenue in its historical past. There are actually 12 billionaires within the Cargill household alone, it stated, up from eight previous to the pandemic. Cargill declined to remark when contacted by CNBC.

In the meantime, Oxfam stated the pandemic created 40 new billionaires within the prescription drugs sector. The billionaires are those that profited from their firms’ monopolies over vaccines, remedies, checks and private protecting tools.

To be able to stop even stronger wealth inequality, and to assist individuals with rising meals and vitality prices, Oxfam beneficial that governments impose one-off solidarity taxes on the pandemic windfalls of billionaires.

Ending ‘disaster profiteering’?

The charity additionally prompt that governments finish “disaster profiteering” by introducing a 90% momentary extra revenue tax on the windfalls generated by massive companies throughout all sectors.

Oxfam additionally proposed a everlasting tax to rein in excessive wealth, monopoly energy and the upper carbon emissions produced by the super-rich.

It stated that an annual wealth tax beginning at 2% on millionaires and 5% on billionaires might generate $2.52 trillion a 12 months. That may be sufficient to elevate 2.3 billion individuals out of poverty, make sufficient vaccines for the worldwide inhabitants, in addition to ship common well being care and social safety for these residing in low and lower-middle earnings international locations.

Talking to CNBC’s Karen Tso in Davos on Monday, Bucher stated that there are individuals in a “battle for survival.”

“We’d like to consider excessive wealth as a result of there’s excessive wealth, the hopeful a part of all of that is that wealth exists on this planet, it is simply very badly distributed,” she stated.

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