10 Richest Men in World Doubled their Wealth Amid COVID-19 Pandemic: Oxfam Report

The world’s 10 richest men have doubled their wealth since the COVID-19 pandemic as poverty and inequality soared, according to an Oxfam study released on Monday.

The charity, which is focused on combating global poverty, said the world’s 10 wealthiest men saw their incomes skyrocketing collectively from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion (€1.314 trillion), at a rate of around $1.3 billion per day.

While the fortunes of the world’s men have increased, the world’s poorest are facing even more dire circumstances.

According to the paper “Inequality Kills,” published ahead of the World Economic Forum’s Davos meeting, “Over 160 million people are projected to have been pushed into poverty.”

“Increasing economic, gender and racial inequalities, including the disparity that exists between countries are tearing our world apart,” Oxfam study stated.

“This is not by chance, but choice,” the paper’s authors continued, “‘economic violence’ is perpetrated when structural policy choices are made for the richest and most powerful people. This causes direct harm to us all, and to the poorest people, women and girls, and racialized groups most.”

Oxfam International’s executive director Gabriela Bucher said, “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.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed openly both the motive of greed, and the opportunity by political and economic means, by which extreme inequality has become an instrument of economic violence,” she added.

Although share prices dropped dramatically in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, central banks and governments across the globe soon implemented stimulus packages, giving them a renewed boost.  

As interest rates were cut to record low levels and the supply of money grew massively through quantitative easing — the process whereby central banks buy up government bonds or financial assets such as stocks to put more money into economies to increase economic activity — stock markets soared.

In addition, tech corporations such as Amazon, Google and Facebook saw a huge increase in profits as ever more people worked from home and did their shopping online.

The authors of the paper called for curbs on extreme wealth via progressive taxation, proven inequality-busting measures, as well as a power shift in the economy and society.

The world’s 10 richest men listed in the Forbes magazine, include, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, former Microsoft CEOs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, US investor Warren Buffet and the head of the French luxury group LVMH, Bernard Arnault.

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