• Saturday, March 02, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

5 richest men including Musk, Bezos double wealth while 5bn others sink deeper into poverty – Oxfam

Untitled design (1)

The five richest men in the world have more than doubled their wealth to $869 billion (£681.5 billion) since 2020, While over 5 billion people, about 60% have become poorer, as reported by Oxfam.

The analysis predicts that within ten years, the globe will produce its first trillionaire due to the widening wealth disparity. Simultaneously, it cautions that if present patterns persist, it will take an additional 229 years to completely erase global poverty.

The report, which was created using information from Forbes and the research firm Fortune X, says that the combined fortune of the world’s five richest people—Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault, Larry Ellison, and Mark Zuckerberg—has risen by $464 billion, or 114%. The combined wealth of the world’s poorest 4.77 billion individuals, or 60% of the global population, has decreased by 0.2% in real terms within the same time frame.

“People worldwide are working harder and longer hours, often for poverty wages in precarious and unsafe jobs,” the report says. “Across 52 countries, average real wages of nearly 800 million workers have fallen. These workers have lost a combined $1.5tn over the last two years, equivalent to 25 days of lost wages for each worker.”

Oxfam said that the world’s millionaires were $3.3 trillion (£2.6 trillion) richer than in 2020 and that their wealth had increased three times faster than the rate of inflation, highlighting a sharp rise in inequality since the Covid epidemic.

According to the report Inequality Inc., although millions of workers worldwide see their living standards stagnate, seven out of ten of the largest companies in the world have a billionaire as their CEO or major shareholder.

It also says that business earnings have increased significantly despite pressure on households due to the cost of living problem, mirroring the fortunes of the ultra-wealthy. It reveals that in the year ending in June 2023, 148 of the largest companies in the world together made $1.8 trillion in net profits, a 52% increase above average net earnings for the years 2018–21.

The report also advocates for a wealth tax to balance the power dynamics between super-rich business owners and bosses and employees. If implemented at a rate of 1% to 2% on net wealth exceeding £10 million, the wealth tax on British millionaires and billionaires could generate £22 billion in revenue for the government annually.

Investor Julia Davies is a founding member of Patriotic Millionaires UK, a nonpartisan organization of British millionaires pushing for a wealth tax. She said that taxes on wealth are “minuscule” in comparison to taxes on labour income.

“Just imagine what £22bn a year invested in public services and infrastructure could pay for; improving the lives of every one of us who live in the UK and providing our elderly, young, and vulnerable with the care and support they need and deserve,” she said.

According to Oxfam, the most current Gini index, which gauges inequality, revealed that income disparity worldwide was now on par with that of South Africa, the nation with the greatest level of inequality worldwide.

59% of global financial assets, including stocks, bonds, and shares as well as investments in privately held companies, are owned by the richest 1% of people on the planet. 36.5% of all financial assets in the UK, valued at £1.8 trillion, are owned by the richest 1% of people.