Oxfam millionaire condemns epidemic ‘Bonanza’ as millions face poverty

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Every 30 hours a new billionaire emerges during the Covid-19 epidemic, and about one million of them fall. Extreme poverty in 2022 at almost the same rate. These are the surprising statistics recently published by Oxfam.

There were 573 more billionaires in the world in March 2022 than in 2020, when the epidemic began, global charities said in a brief statement released on Monday, the first day of the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland. That’s the equivalent of a new billionaire every 30 hours, Oxfam says.

Above all, it estimates that 263 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2022 because of the epidemic, rising global inequality, and rising food prices that have risen since the war in Ukraine. That’s the equivalent of about one million people every 33 hours, Oxfam said.

The agency noted that the billionaires had a combined value of $ 12.7 trillion as of March. By 2021, billionaire wealth represents the equivalent of about 14% of global gross domestic product.

Gabriella Butcher, executive director of Oxfam International, said the billionaires were coming to the Davos summit “to celebrate the incredible rise of their fortunes”.

“The epidemic and now the sharp rise in food and energy prices have been a boon for them,” he said.

“Meanwhile, decades of progress in extreme poverty are now reversing, and millions of people are experiencing an unimaginable increase in the cost of living alone,” Butcher added.

Epidemic winds

Respecting the growth of wealth in certain business sectors, Oxfam said the fortunes of food and energy billionaires have increased by $ 453 billion in the last two years, equivalent to $ 1 billion every two days.

Food giant Cargill, for example, has been named one of four companies that control more than 70% of the global agricultural market, according to Oxfam. The Kargil family-owned corporation made about $ 5 billion in net income last year – the largest profit in its history. The Kargil family now has 12 billionaires, it said, eight before the epidemic.

Oxfam, meanwhile, says the epidemic has created 40 new billionaires in the pharmaceuticals sector. Billionaires are those who have benefited from their company’s monopoly on vaccines, treatments, tests and personal protective equipment.

To prevent even greater wealth inequality, and to help people with rising food and energy costs, Oxfam has recommended that the government impose a unilateral solidarity tax on billionaires’ epidemics.

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