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Oxfam slams billionaire pandemic ‘bonanza’ as hundreds of thousands face poverty


Olga Shumytskaya | Moment | Getty Images

A latest billionaire emerged every 30 hours through the Covid-19 pandemic, and nearly one million could fall into extreme poverty at around the identical rate in 2022. Those are the sobering statistics recently released by Oxfam.

There have been 573 more billionaires on this planet by March 2022 than in 2020, when the pandemic began, the worldwide charity said in a transient that was published on Monday, the primary day of the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland. That equates to 1 latest billionaire every 30 hours, Oxfam said.

On top of that, it estimated that 263 million people may very well be pushed into extreme levels of poverty in 2022 due to the pandemic, growing global inequality and rising food prices which were exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. That is the equivalent of nearly one million people every 33 hours, Oxfam said.

The organization identified that billionaires were collectively price $12.7 trillion as of March. In 2021, billionaire wealth represented the equivalent of nearly 14% of worldwide gross domestic product.

Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International, said that billionaires were arriving on the Davos summit to “have fun an incredible surge of their fortunes.”

“The pandemic and now the steep increases in food and energy prices have, simply put, been a bonanza for them,” she said.

“Meanwhile, many years of progress on extreme poverty are actually in reverse and hundreds of thousands of persons are facing inconceivable rises in the associated fee of simply staying alive,” Bucher added.

Pandemic windfalls

Honing in on soaring wealth in specific business sectors, Oxfam said the fortunes of food and energy billionaires rose by $453 billion within the last two years, equating to $1 billion every two days.

As an illustration, food giant Cargill was reported to be one in all 4 corporations that control greater than 70% of worldwide agricultural market, Oxfam said. The corporation, owned by the Cargill family, generated a net income of nearly $5 billion last 12 months — the most important profit in its history. There are actually 12 billionaires within the Cargill family alone, it said, up from eight prior to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Oxfam said the pandemic created 40 latest billionaires within the pharmaceuticals sector. The billionaires are those that profited from their corporations’ monopolies over vaccines, treatments, tests and private protective equipment.

With a view to prevent even starker wealth inequality, and to support individuals with rising food and energy costs, Oxfam advisable that governments impose one-off solidarity taxes on the pandemic windfalls of billionaires.

Ending ‘crisis profiteering’?

The charity also suggested that governments end “crisis profiteering” by introducing a 90% temporary excess profit tax on the windfalls generated by big corporations across all sectors.

Oxfam also proposed a everlasting tax to rein in extreme wealth, monopoly power and the upper carbon emissions produced by the super-rich.

It said that an annual wealth tax starting at 2% on millionaires and 5% on billionaires could generate $2.52 trillion a 12 months. That will be enough to lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty, make enough vaccines for the worldwide population, in addition to deliver universal health care and social protection for those living in low and lower-middle income countries.

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