Covid-19: during the pandemic, a new billionaire was born almost every day

About 573 people have joined the ranks of billionaires since 2020, according to an analysis released by Oxfam on Sunday, bringing the total number of billionaires worldwide to 2,668. This means that the new billionaire was were minted approximately every 30 hours on average during the pandemic.
The report, which draws on data compiled by Forbes, looks at the rise in inequality over the past two years. This is is an to coincide with the launch of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which brought together some of the richest people and world leaders.
During the pandemic, the total net worth of billionaires rose $3.8 trillion, or 42%, to $12.7 trillion. Much of the growth was driven by strong gains in stock markets, helped by governments pouring money into the global economy to cushion the financial impact of the coronavirus.

Much of the wealth boom came in the first year of the pandemic. It then stabilized and has since declined slightly, said Max Lawson, head of inequality policy at Oxfam.

At the same time, Covid-19, rising inequality and rising food prices could push up to 263 million people into extreme poverty this year, wiping out decades of progress, Oxfam said in a report last month.

“I have never seen such a dramatic rise in poverty and rise in wealth at the same moment in history,” Lawson said. “It will hurt a lot of people.”

Benefit from high prices

Consumers around the world are struggling with rising energy and food prices, but corporations in these industries and their leaders are benefiting from rising prices, Oxfam notes.

The combined wealth of food and agribusiness billionaires has increased by $382 billion, or 45%, over the past two years after adjusting for inflation. Since 2020, about 62 food billionaires have been created.

Meanwhile, the net worth of their peers in the oil, gas and coal sectors has jumped $53 billion, or 24%, since 2020 after adjusting for inflation.

Forty new pandemic billionaires have emerged from the pharmaceutical industry, which has been at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 and has received billions in government funding.

The tech sector has spawned many billionaires, including seven of the top 10 richest people in the world such as Telsa’s Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. These people have increased their wealth by $436 billion to $934 billion in the last two years after adjusting for inflation.

tax on the rich

To counter soaring inequality and help those struggling with rising prices, Oxfam is pushing governments to tax the rich and corporations.

He calls for a temporary 90 percent tax on corporate excess profits, as well as a one-time tax on billionaire wealth.

The group would also like to levy a permanent wealth tax on the super-rich. It proposes a 2% tax on assets above $5 million, rising to 5% for net worth above $1 billion. This could raise $2.5 trillion worldwide.

However, wealth taxes were not adopted by many governments. Efforts to levy taxes on the net worth of the wealthiest Americans have made little headway in Congress in recent years.

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