Oxfam slams the “bonanza” of the billion-dollar pandemic as millions of people face poverty

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A new billionaire was born every 30 hours during the Covid-19 pandemic and nearly a million could fall into it extreme poverty at roughly the same rate in 2022. These are the sobering statistics recently published by Oxfam.

As of March 2022, there were 573 more billionaires in the world than in 2020 when the pandemic began, the global charity said in a letter published Monday, the first day of the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland. . That equates to a new billionaire every 30 hours, Oxfam said.

Furthermore, it estimated that 263 million people could be pushed to extreme levels of poverty in 2022 due to the pandemic, growing global inequality and rising food prices that have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. That’s the equivalent of nearly one million people every 33 hours, Oxfam said.

The organization pointed out that the billionaires were worth a total of $ 12.7 trillion in March. In 2021, billionaire wealth represented the equivalent of nearly 14% of global gross domestic product.

Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International, said the billionaires were coming to the Davos summit to “celebrate an incredible wave of fortunes”.

“The pandemic and now the sharp increases in food and energy prices have been, in short, a godsend for them,” he said.

“In the meantime, decades of advances on extreme poverty are now reversed and millions of people are facing impossible increases in the cost of mere survival,” Bucher added.

Pandemic lucky breaks

Refining the rise in wealth in specific business sectors, Oxfam said the fortunes of food and energy billionaires have increased by $ 453 billion over the past two years, or $ 1 billion every two days.

For example, food giant Cargill would be one of four companies that control more than 70% of the global agricultural market, Oxfam said. The company, owned by the Cargill family, generated nearly $ 5 billion in net income last year, the largest profit in its history. There are now 12 billionaires in the Cargill family alone, he said, compared to eight before the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Oxfam said the pandemic has created 40 new billionaires in the pharmaceutical sector. Billionaires are those who have profited from their companies’ monopolies on vaccines, treatments, tests and personal protective equipment.

In order to prevent even greater wealth inequality and support people with rising food and energy costs, Oxfam has recommended governments to impose one-time solidarity taxes on the unexpected gains of the billionaire pandemic.

Put an end to the “profit of the crisis”?

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