The five richest men whose wealth doubled after 2020, Oxfam says as Davos opens | Poverty and development news

Charity says billionaires are $3.3 trillion richer than they were in 2020 as the annual gathering of the business elite takes place.

The world's five richest men have doubled their fortunes since 2020, charity Oxfam said, sounding the alarm about unchecked corporate power as the business elite hold their annual high-profile meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Oxfam said in its report issued on Monday that the combined wealth of the five men amounts to $869 billion, after their wealth increased at a rate of $14 million per hour over the past four years.

Oxfam said that despite the growth in the fortunes of the five – LVMH boss Bernard Arnault, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk – 5 billion people have become poorer over the same period. .

The London-based charity said that billionaires are $3.3 trillion richer today than they were in 2020, while billionaires lead 7 out of 10 of the largest companies in the world.

If current trends continue, the world will have its first trillionaire within a decade, but poverty will not be eradicated for another 229 years, according to the anti-poverty group.

Amitabh Behar, interim executive director of Oxfam International, said no one should have a billion dollars.

“We are witnessing the beginnings of a decade of division, as billions of people endure the economic shocks of pandemic, inflation and war, while the fortunes of billionaires flourish. This disparity is no coincidence; the billionaire class is ensuring that companies do more for them,” Behar said in a statement issued with the report. of wealth at the expense of everyone.”

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Unbridled corporate and monopoly power is a machine that generates inequality: by squeezing workers, evading taxes, privatizing the state, and stimulating climate breakdown, corporations funnel endless wealth to their wealthy owners. “But they also shift power, undermining our democracies and rights.”

Oxfam traditionally releases its annual inequality report ahead of the opening of the annual World Economic Forum, which was launched by German engineer and economist Klaus Schwab in the early 1970s to champion “stakeholder capitalism.”

(Al Jazeera)

The charity said companies are paying around a third less in tax than in previous decades as a result of pressures from the “war on tax”, depriving governments of money that could be used to benefit the poorest people in society.

Oxfam said governments should cap executive pay, break up private monopolies and impose a wealth tax to bring in $1.8 trillion annually.

“We have the evidence. We know the history. Public power can rein in unbridled corporate power and inequality — and shape the market to be fairer and freer from the control of billionaires. Governments must step in to break up monopolies, empower workers, and tax massive corporate profits,” Behar said. And, most importantly, investing in a new era of public goods and services.”

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