Billionaires double their fortunes while 60% of the global population is impoverished, says report

Oxfam shows that, since 2020, the fortunes of the richest have doubled, while 60% of the world's population is impoverished. Document calls for immediate action to combat inequality

01/16/2024 11:05 AM

In a global scenario marked by economic and social extremes, Oxfam launched its latest report, "Inequality SA", on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The data presented reveals that the fortunes of the world's top five billionaires have more than doubled since 2020, while around 5 billion people - 60% of the global population - have experienced a reduction in their wealth over the same period.

The report, entitled "Inequality SA. - How corporate power divides our world and the need for a new era of public action", highlights the emergence of a new economic aristocracy, where wealth is accumulated by the few, while billions face poverty, hunger, wars and an austere reality.

The document presents emblematic cases, such as the increase in Jeff Bezos' fortune by 32.7 billion dollars since 2020, while Amazon workers face precarious working conditions. Reverend Ryan Brown, an Amazon employee in North Carolina, describes working conditions as "physically heavy, monotonous and exhausting", revealing a dark side behind corporate success.

Global inequality is accentuated by alarming figures: if the five richest men spent a million dollars a day, it would take them 476 years to exhaust their combined fortune.

Immediate and urgent action

The organization emphasizes the importance of public intervention in reshaping the corporate machine that perpetuates inequality It calls for monopolies to be broken up, workers' rights to be strengthened, corporations and the super-rich to be taxed, and investments in public goods and services to be made. "The 2020s offer opportunities for leaders to shape our world in a fairer direction. An era of growing inequality has coincided with a narrowing of the economic imagination," the document argues.

The report presents stark data on inequality, including the doubling of the fortunes of the five richest men and the disproportionate ownership of financial assets by the world's richest 1%. The text highlights the interconnection between extreme wealth and corporate power, demonstrating how megacorporations contribute to inequality and exploit gender, racial and economic disparities.

The report explores how big business drives inequality, from reducing wages to tax evasion, privatizing public services and contributing to climate breakdown. Against this backdrop, Oxfam proposes actions that include targets for reducing inequality, regulating big business, raising taxes on large corporations and wealthier individuals, and investing in public services.

Oxfam, responsible for the report, is an international confederation of organizations working to combat poverty and reduce inequality and promote social justice and better living conditions. The organization focuses its efforts on humanitarian action, sustainable development and advocacy.

Of the 10 largest corporations in the world, seven have a billionaire at the helm. The total value of these companies is US$10.2 trillion
Of the 10 largest corporations in the world, seven have a billionaire at the helm. The total value of these companies is US$10.2 trillion

The release of the report comes at an important time and is in line with the discussions of the G20, currently chaired by Brazil, to chart a path towards a more equitable global economy. The G20 engagement groups, made up of civil society organizations and public and private entities, promote the debate to improve global justice. By implementing fairer tax policies and eliminating tax loopholes, G20 countries can curb the unbridled growth of the fortunes of a narrow elite, contributing to a better distribution of wealth.

The working groups, made up of government bodies from the member countries, help in the cooperation and debate for the creation of accessible and quality education programs, which are fundamental for reducing socio-economic disparities. The G20 groups aim to reshape the economic and social foundations, laying the foundations for a fair and sustainable world.

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