10 richest double fortune, rest of humanity gets poorer

JOR 0630
(Photo: OXFAM)
AMMAN — The world’s 10 richest men more than doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion — at a rate of $15,000 per second or $1.3 billion a day — during the first two years of a pandemic that has seen the incomes of 99 percent of humanity fall and over 160 million more people forced into poverty, according to a press release by OXFAMاضافة اعلان

“If these ten men were to lose 99.999 percent of their wealth tomorrow, they would still be richer than 99 percent of all the people on this planet,” said Oxfam International’s Executive Director Gabriela Bucher. “They now have six times more wealth than the poorest 3.1 billion people.”

In a new briefing “InequalityKills,” published Monday ahead of the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda, Oxfam said that inequality is contributing to the death of at least 21,000 people each day, or one person every four seconds. This is a conservative finding based on deaths globally from lack of access to healthcare, gender-based violence, hunger, and climate breakdown.

“It is more urgent than ever to address this gross inequality by ensuring extreme wealth is taxed, and by using that money to save lives,” said Oxfam in Jordan country director, Nivedita Monga.

(Photo: OXFAM)

In Jordan, the two richest people have more wealth than the bottom four million Jordanians, while there are 53 households with $50 million or more.  “A just tax system requires all Jordanians to pay tax responsibly; the burden must not fall on the poor,” Monga said.

An annual wealth tax of 2–3 percent on multimillionaires and billionaires in Jordan could raise $0.5 billion, enough to increase the government health budget by 29 percent. It could also cut Jordanians’ out-of-pocket health expenditure by half.

Extreme inequality is a form of economic violence, where policies and political decisions that perpetuate the wealth and power of a privileged few result in direct harm to the vast majority of ordinary people across the world and the planet itself.

“In Jordan, as across the world, women and girls have most acutely suffered the economic violence unleashed by the pandemic. Gender-based violence surged during strict lockdowns, while women and girls had to cope with a dramatic increase in unpaid care work,” Monga said.

Globally, the pandemic has set gender parity back from 99 years to now 135 years. Women collectively lost $800 billion in earnings in 2020, with 13 million fewer women in work now than there were in 2019. 252 men have more wealth than all 1 billion women and girls in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean combined.

Despite the huge cost of fighting the pandemic, in the past two years, rich country governments have failed to increase taxes on the wealth of the richest and continued to privatize public goods such as vaccine science. They have encouraged corporate monopolies to such a degree that in the pandemic period alone, the increase in market concentration threatens to be more in one year than in the past 15 years from 2000 to 2015.

Inequality goes to the heart of the climate crisis, as the richest 1 percent emit more than twice as much CO2 as the bottom 50 percent of the world, driving climate change throughout 2020 and 2021 that has contributed to wildfires, floods, tornadoes, crop failures, and hunger.

Oxfam recommends that governments urgently:

• Claw back the gains made by billionaires by taxing this huge new wealth made since the start of the pandemic through permanent wealth and capital taxes. 

• Invest the trillions that could be raised by these taxes toward progressive spending on universal healthcare and social protection, climate change adaptation, and gender-based violence prevention and programming.

• Tackle sexist and racist laws that discriminate against women and racialized people and create new gender-equal laws to uproot violence and discrimination. All sectors of society must urgently define policies that will ensure women, racialized, and other oppressed groups are represented in all decision-making spaces.

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