Pandemic created a billionaire every 30 hours: Oxfam at Davos
According to Oxfam, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a new billionaire every 30 hours while one million people are now at risk of falling into poverty amid soaring global inflation. As the global elite gathered for the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Monday after a two-year pandemic-induced absence, the international charity said it was time to tax the wealthy to support the less fortunate.
- The statement was made in a report titled "Profiting from Pain," which was released during the World Economic Forum in Davos that began on Sunday and will end on Thursday.
- According to Oxfam, the wealth of the world's billionaires now accounts for 13.9% of global GDP amid a global cost-of-living crisis, which is a threefold increase from the 2000 figure of 4.4%.
According to Oxfam, 573 people became billionaires during the COVID-19 pandemic—one in every 30 hours. Meanwhile, 263 million people will be living in extreme poverty by 2022, with one million people falling into poverty every 33 hours, it said. It also stated that the world's 10 wealthiest men now own more money than the bottom 40% of the global population (3.1 billion people).
"Billionaires are arriving in Davos to celebrate an incredible surge in their fortunes," stated Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International. "The pandemic and now the steep increase in food and energy prices have...been a bonanza for them. Meanwhile, decades of progress on extreme poverty are now in reverse and millions of people are facing impossible rises in the cost of simply staying alive."
Oxfam advocated a one-time "solidarity tax" on billionaires to help people suffering from rising prices and finance a "fair and sustainable recovery" from the pandemic. It said it was time to "end crisis profiteering" by instituting a "temporary excess profit-tax" of 90% on large corporations' windfall profits. It said a 2% and 5% wealth tax on millionaires and billionaires, respectively, could create $2.52 trillion/year.
According to Oxfam's report, a wealth tax would help to raise 2.3 billion people out of poverty, produce enough vaccines for the entire world, and fund universal health care in poorer countries. Its calculations were based on the Forbes billionaires list and World Bank data.
For every one billionaire minted since the pandemic began, 1M more people could be pushed into extreme poverty in 2022. While the world is reeling from multiple crises, the world’s wealthiest are unashamedly #ProfitingFromPain of ordinary people🧑🏭Morehttps://t.co/47FyVW5b0U pic.twitter.com/rRlKAFv1Nj— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) May 23, 2022