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‘Wealth of world’s top 10 richest increased $1.3 bn per day during pandemic’

‘Wealth of world’s top 10 richest increased $1.3 bn 
per day during pandemic’

Tribune News Network
The world’s 10 richest people more than doubled their collective fortunes to $1.5 trillion, from $700 billion, during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic even as the number of people living in poverty increased, Oxfam has said in its latest report.
Their wealth increased at a rate of $15,000 per second or $1.3bn a day during the pandemic while the incomes of 99 percent of the world’s population declined and more than 160 million more people were forced into poverty, Oxfam reported, citing Forbes data.
The report was released before the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.
Inequality is contributing to the death of at least 21,000 people each day, or one person every four seconds, Oxfam said.
The world’s richest people are Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer and Warren Buffett, the charity said, citing Forbes.
“If these 10 men were to lose 99.999 per cent of their wealth tomorrow, they would still be richer than 99 per cent of all the people on this planet,” said Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International.
“They now have six times more wealth than the poorest 3.1 billion people. It has never been so important to start righting the violent wrongs of this obscene inequality by clawing back elites’ power and extreme wealth including through taxation – getting that money back into the real economy and to save lives.”
More people around the world became millionaires for the first time in 2020 despite the economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report last year by Credit Suisse.
The number of millionaires grew by 5.2 million to 56.1 million in 2020, the first time in history that more than 1 per cent of all adults worldwide are, in nominal terms, dollar millionaires.
The sharp increase in wealth accumulation was driven by a rise in stock and housing prices, according to the Swiss bank.
The wealth of billionaires surged to $5 trillion and has increased the most since COVID-19 began than it has in the past 14 years, according to Oxfam.
“Billionaires have had a terrific pandemic. Central banks pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets to save the economy, yet much of that has ended up lining the pockets of billionaires riding a stock market boom,” Bucher said.
Hunger, gender-based violence, climate change and a lack of access to health care contributed to one death every four seconds during the pandemic, according to Oxfam.
A one-off 99 per cent tax on the pandemic windfalls of the 10 richest people could pay to make enough vaccines for the world, provide universal health care and social protection, while “still leaving these men $8 billion better off than they were before the pandemic”, Oxfam said.