Tuesday, June 28, 2022

During the pandemic, a new billionaire was created every 30 hours

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While the Covid pandemic has left many people in extreme poverty, some have seen it have the opposite effect.

Billionaires have seen tremendous wealth growth amid the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, according to a new report from Oxfam, someone has become a billionaire every 30 hours for the past two years.

The charity published its report, Benefit from the pain, on Sunday, who noted that between March 2020 and March 2022, about 573 people became a new billionaire.

According to the group, the pandemic will “drive the largest systemic rise in income inequality on record,” according to the group.

They added that for every new billionaire created during the pandemic, nearly a million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2022.

Oxfam believes billionaires’ fortunes have risen more in the first 24 months since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic than in 23 years combined. The combined wealth of the world’s billionaires is now equivalent to 13.9 percent of global GDP, triple what it was in 2000.

“Billionaires’ fortunes haven’t increased because they’re smarter now or work harder. Workers are working harder, for less pay and under poorer conditions,” said Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International.

The new study also shows that companies in the energy, food and pharmaceuticals sectors are making record profits despite little change in wages and workers grappling with some of the highest prices in decades.

Meanwhile, the fortunes of food and energy billionaires have risen by $453 billion (£360 billion) over the past two years, equivalent to a billion dollars (£795 million) every few days.

While rising inflation is a global problem, raising prices is particularly difficult for low-wage workers, and people in poorer countries tend to bear the brunt, spending more than double their income on food compared to people in rich countries.

As a solution to the inequality problem, Oxfam proposed taxing the rich. The charity proposed “one-off solidarity taxes” on billionaire wealth increased during the pandemic.

They also called for a permanent wealth tax of 2 per cent on wealth over $5 million (£398 million) and 5 per cent on wealth over $1 billion (£795 million).

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