While Inflation Beat The Post-Pandemic Economy, Billionaires Beat Inflation 3 Times Over

Oxfam report shows their wealth beat the inflation rate by more than three times in three years.
The rich have become significantly richer since 2020, according to Oxfam.
The rich have become significantly richer since 2020, according to Oxfam.
sesame via Getty Images

All billionaires’ wealth has grown three times faster than the rate of inflation since before the Covid pandemic, according to a new report.

That means they’re 34% richer than they were in 2020, the anti-poverty charity Oxfam International has claimed in its new report, Inequality Inc.

Meanwhile, the cost of living crisis for the majority of the global population has risen due to inflation, food prices around the world increasing by 21% to 50% between 2022 and 2023.

The five richest men in the world have seen their personal wealth double in three years – all while five billion people around the world found themselves getting poorer.

The five richest men, by the way, are Tesla’s Elon Musk, luxury company LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and family, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and investor Warren Buffett.

(That’s the top wealthiest men listed in Forbes’ real-time billionaires list from November 2023.)

Collectively, they doubled their profits from ÂŁ321 billion in 2020 to ÂŁ688 billion in 2023.

Once inflation is factored in, that works out at a 114% increase in the personal wealth of those five men.

Perhaps it’s not surprising then that we’re on track to see the first trillionaire (one thousand billion) in the next 10 years.

For context, that’s the same value as the whole of oil-saturated Saudi Arabia, according to the US news agency Associated Press.

This disparity was “supercharged” by the Covid pandemic, according to Oxfam, as many developing countries could not offer the financial support wealthier nations did at the height of lockdown.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent energy and food prices rising too, triggering a cost of living crisis which many countries are still grappling with.

And the richest 1% own 43% of all global financial assets, according to Oxfam’s findings. In the UK, the richest 1% own 33% of all financial assets.

Seven out of 10 of the world’s biggest corporations also have a billionaire as CEO or principle shareholder.

The worth of these companies exceeds the combined GDPs of all countries in Africa and Latin America.

Hundreds of people demonstrated for climate justice under the title "Strike WEF" in Davos.
Hundreds of people demonstrated for climate justice under the title "Strike WEF" in Davos.
picture alliance via Getty Images

In the last three years, the poorest 60% (close to five billion people) around the world have lost money – a figure calculated from the UBS Global Wealth Report and the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Data book 2019.

Oxfam even predicted that poverty is not expected to be eradicated for another 229 years.

The charity also claimed average real wages for nearly 800 million workers have fallen across 52 countries in the same time frame the billionaires have been building on their personal wealth.

Oxfam’s interim chief executive Aleema Shivji said: “This ever-widening gulf between the rich and the rest isn’t accidental, nor is it inevitable.

“Governments worldwide are making deliberate political choices that enable and encourage this distorted concentration of wealth, while hundreds of millions of people live in poverty.”

She called for “concerted policies that deliver fairer taxation and support for everyone, not just the privileged”.

The report found a wealth tax on UK millionaires and billionaires at a rate of one to two per cent on net wealth above ÂŁ10 million could generate up to ÂŁ22 billion each year.

The timing of the report’s release is not accidental – business elites are gathering at the Swiss ski resort Davos this week for the annual conference, World Economic Forum.

Oxfam has previously slammed the richest 1% for for its staggering contributions to carbon emissions, too.


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