In its daily report for January 29, 2021, the Samuel Robinson Institute for Original Thought referred to an Oxfam report, “The Inequality Virus,” presented at the Davos 2021 Agenda, “which highlights the effects of policies implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic and shows that the deliberate policies of capitalist governments around the world have generated a high concentration of wealth within the financial oligarchy, while exacerbating the already historic levels of inequality in international wealth ownership.”
The data highlighted in the Oxfam report is reproduced below:
- More than 3 billion people did not have access to health care, 3/4 of workers around the world did not have access to unemployment benefits or sick leave, and in low-and middle-income countries more than 50% of workers worked in jobs paying poverty wages.
- The total number of billionaires nearly doubled during the 10 years after the 2008 financial crisis, and during 2017-2018 a new billionaire was created every 2 days. On the other hand, it is estimated that 56% of the world population earn between 2 and 10 dollars a day.
- Although millions of workers around the world have lost jobs, wealth and loved ones in the past year, the collective wealth of billionaires rose to $3.9 trillion between March 18 and December 31, 2020.
- The Top 10 richest “Pandemic Speculators” like Tesla CEO Elon Musk; Jeff Bezos of Amazon; Zhong Shanshan, founder of the Nongfu Spring beverage company; and Microsoft’s Bill Gates have seen their wealth increase by more than $540 billion during the same period.
- This $540 billion hoarded by just 10 persons is more than enough to prevent anyone in the world from falling into poverty due to the virus and to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine for everyone.
- Less than 2,300 people control approximately $11.95 trillion in wealth; it is the equivalent of what the G20 governments (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union) have collectively spent in response to the pandemic.
- Mortality from COVID-19 of the poorest 10% in England is twice that of the richest 10%. Similar trends have been reported in France, Brazil, Nepal, Spain, and India.
- Governments around the world have spent relatively little on measures to contain and eradicate the coronavirus, which has so far killed more than 2.1 million people worldwide, 430,000 of that in the United States alone, where the state coffers were opened to provide the financial oligarchy with trillions of dollars in bailouts.
- The world’s biggest one thousand billionaires took 9 months to recover their wealth, while the poorest, whose numbers increased between 200 and 500 million worldwide throughout the pandemic, will take a decade to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Oxfam spokespersons have declared that “the deep divide between rich and poor is proving to be as deadly as the virus.” Activists of the orgnaization Alliance Against Inequality declared that “Davos is a symbol of a failed era” and they demand a “People’s Recovery Plan” focused on a just and more equitable response to public health and an economic program that gets to the root of the generalized injustice, reported the Robinson Institute.
Featured image: Inequality has risen critically amid the pandemic. File photo.