Over the past two years, the world’s wealthiest individuals have acquired twice as much new wealth as the rest of the world, according to Oxfam’s annual inequality report.
According to Oxfam’s annual inequality report, the top 1% of the world’s wealthiest people gained twice as much new wealth as the rest of the world. The report, which was released on Sunday, increased by $26 trillion, while the rest of the world saw their net worth rise by $16 trillion.
The wealth accumulation of the world’s wealthiest people accelerated during the pandemic. When compared to the past decade, the top 1% acquired half of all the new wealth created. In the meantime, around 1.7 billion working class individuals have felt the impact of inflation, causing poverty reduction to also stall as the number of lower class individuals globally increased massively in 2020.
“While ordinary people are making daily sacrifices on essentials like food, the super-rich have outdone even their wildest dreams,” said Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International.
“Just two years in, this decade is shaping up to be the best yet for billionaires — a roaring ’20s boom for the world’s richest.”
Global billionaires are currently much wealthier than they were at the beginning of the pandemic, with their net worth totaling around $11.9 trillion, according to Oxfam who inherits their data from Forbes reports.
In March 2020, global billionaires collectively had around $8.6 trillion. According to Nabil Ahmed, Oxfam America’s director of economic justice, “the wealthy are mainly benefiting from three trends.”
In order to prevent an economic collapse at the beginning of the pandemic, many global governments in wealthier countries put trillions of dollars into their economies, which led to stocks and other large assets to grow in value.
“So much of that fresh cash ended up with the ultra-wealthy, who were able to ride this stock market surge, this asset boom, and the guardrails of fair taxation weren’t in place.”
Oxfam also reported that around 95 food and energy corporations more than doubled their profits in 2022, mainly due to the impacts of inflation. A majority of the money was given to shareholders.
One of the biggest results of this wealth acquisition was an increase in global poverty levels, especially in the beginning of the pandemic. Within the past two years, there has been some headway in poverty reduction, however, 2022 saw a stall in this process due to the war in Ukraine and its increase on food and energy prices, according to Oxfam’s citing of World Bank data.
“It’s the first time that extreme wealth and extreme poverty have increased simultaneously in 25 years,” according to Oxfam as reported by CNN.
Oxfam has used these new data numbers to call on governments to impose higher taxation on their wealthiest citizens. They’ve suggested implementing a one-time wealth tax as well as windfall taxes as a means of ending corporations and the world’s top 1% from profiting from the pandemic. Specifically, they want to see the top 1% pay taxes equating to at least 60% of their income from labor and capital.
Oxfam believes the “rates on the top 1% should be high enough to significantly reduce their numbers and wealth. The funds should then be redistributed.
We do face an extreme crisis of wealth concentration, and it’s important before all, I think, to recognize that it’s not inevitable. A strategic precondition to reining in extreme inequality is taxing the ultra-wealthy,” Ahmed stated.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.