As the deadly COVID-19 pandemic raged on, the world’s richest people only got richer, and tens of millions of people plunged into poverty.
V report Published on Sunday, Oxfam detailed how billionaire wealth has increased more than ever before in the past two years: The 10 richest people in the world are all white men — more than doubled their wealth, from a collective $700 billion to $1.5 trillion.
According to the report, from March 2020 to November 2021, a new billionaire was born every 26 hours.
Meanwhile, according to the organization’s estimates, more than 160 million people fell below the poverty line during this time.
“One of the most powerful tools we have to tackle this level of blatant and deadly inequality is taxing the rich,” said Abby Maxman, president of Oxfam America, in a press release.
“Instead of lining the pockets of the super-rich, we should be pouring billions of dollars into our economy, our children and our planet, paving the way for a more equitable and sustainable future.”
Oxfam estimates that the 252 richest men now own more wealth than the 1 billion women and girls in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean combined.
During the pandemic women have been particularly hard hit economically because many working in industries with disproportionate job losses; other were forced to leave work to take care of children and the elderly. In 2020, women collectively lost $800 billion in earnings, and there are 13 million fewer women in the work force than in 2019.
The report notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately hit people of color: until November 2021 in the US Blacks and Hispanics were about twice as likely to die from the virus than white people. Similarly, during the second wave of the pandemic in England, Bangladeshis were five times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white Britons. In Brazil, blacks are 1.5 times more likely to die than whites.
IN USA, Black and Hispanics also work disproportionately in industries such as service or domestic sector, which the faced significant job loss, as well as in healthcare or agriculture, where workers deemed “essential” continued to work on the front lines as others have safely stayed at home.
Millions of Americans received increased unemployment assistance and three stimulus checks from the federal government during the pandemic, but undocumented immigrants were banned from this support.
“There is no shortage of money… What is missing is the courage and imagination needed to break out of the failed death straitjacket of extreme neoliberalism,” Gabriela Bucher, chief executive of Oxfam International, said in a press release.
“Governments would be wise to listen to movements – young climate activists, Black Lives Matter activists, #NiUnaMenos feminists, Indian farmers and others – that demand justice and equality.”