According to a new Oxfam research, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the wealth of the world’s top ten wealthiest men while lowering the income of 99 percent of humanity. The research, titled “Inequality Kills,” explains how the world’s 10 wealthiest men increased their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion in less than a year at a rate of $1.3 billion each day.
Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault & family, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer, and Warren Buffet topped the Forbes World’s Billionaires List as of November 30, 2021. Even the lesser-known megarich, on the other hand, benefited significantly from the pandemic. The combined fortune of all 2,755 billionaires has increased more lately than in the previous 14 years, exceeding $5 trillion dollars (that is $5,000,000,000,000).
Meanwhile, poverty in the rest of the world has risen dramatically, with more than 160 million people living on less than $5.50 per day than before the pandemic began. Growing inequality is currently leading to the deaths of at least 21,000 people per day, owing to a lack of access to healthcare, malnutrition, gender-based violence, and the effects of the climate disaster. Every four seconds, one person is killed. “The rise of billionaire riches at a time when poverty is rising exposes our economies’ fundamental faults.”
“Even in the midst of a global crisis, our unfair economic systems manage to deliver eye-watering windfalls for the wealthiest while failing to protect the poorest – it is an avoidable tragedy that every day people die because they lack essentials like food and healthcare,” Oxfam GB Chief Executive Danny Sriskandarajah said in a statement. Inequality is wreaking havoc on developing countries and already underprivileged groups. According to the paper, developing countries have denied adequate immunizations due to wealthy governments’ protection of pharmaceutical monopolies, pushing them to decrease social spending and implement tougher austerity measures.
If Black Americans had the same life expectancy as white Americans, an estimated 3.4 million would still be alive today. That number has climbed dramatically since the COVID-19 when it was projected to be 2.1 million people, which is still worrying. Efforts to achieve gender equality have also been hampered. Up to 13 million, fewer women are working now than in 2019, resulting in an $800 billion loss in earnings for women in 2020. Oxfam previously calculated that global gender equality could be achieved in 99 years, After the epidemic, that estimate has increased to at least 135 years.
The paper proposes a solution to the problem of taxation. They predict that a one-time 99 percent windfall tax on the COVID-19 wealth gains of the top ten wealthiest persons could collect $812 billion, enough to fund universal healthcare and social safety, climate crisis adaption, and gender-based violence reduction in over 80 countries. Even after this colossal tax, the top ten wealthiest men would still be $8 billion better off than before the outbreak. It remains to be seen whether this bold plan will be well received by the world’s ultra-wealthy.
“The solution to these perplexing issues is hilariously simple: taxation.” “On a global scale, mandatory, unavoidable, ambitious tax reform is the only way to heal what is broken,” the paper says. “It’s not difficult, and it shouldn’t be contentious.” Over the previous two years, nearly everyone else on the earth has made some kind of sacrifice; now it’s time for billionaires to do the same – and quickly.”