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Inequality

World's richest men doubled wealth amid pandemic: Oxfam

Published : Jan 17, 2022 15:27 IST T+T-
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Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are two of the richest people in the world.

Increasing inequalities are "are tearing our world apart," according to the anti-poverty charity.

The world's 10 richest men doubled their fortunes during the COVID-19 pandemic as poverty and inequality soared, an Oxfam study revealed on January 17. The charity, which is focused on combating global poverty, said the 10 wealthiest men's fortunes skyrocketed 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 billionaires have soared, the world's poorest are facing even more dire circumstances. "Over 160 million people are projected to have been pushed into poverty," according to the paper "Inequality Kills," published ahead of the World Economic Forum's Davos meeting, which this year is being held online due to the ongoing pandemic.

'Economic violence tearing world apart'

Oxfam's paper stated that increasing economic, gender and racial inequalities, as well as the disparity that exists between countries "are tearing our world apart." "This is not by chance, but choice: '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," the paper's authors continued.

"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," Oxfam International's executive director Gabriela Bucher said. "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," Bucher added.

Zuckerberg and Gates see wealth soar

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. Forbes listed the 10 richest men in the world as: Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, former Microsoft CEOs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, U.S. investor Warren Buffett and the head of the French luxury group LVMH, Bernard Arnault.

jsi/rs (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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