The wealth of the five richest men has doubled since 2020while almost 5 billion people have become poorer since the beginning of the decade, says the report on inequality prepared by the non-governmental organization Oxfam.
On the occasion of the beginning of World Economic Forum, which meets in the Swiss town of Davos to leaders businessmen, politicians and academics in many countries, Oxfam estimates that it may take more than two centuries to eradicate poverty.
According to Oxfam, at the end of November 2023, The five richest men in the world were Elon Musk (X, former Twitter), Bernard Arnault (and his family/French luxury goods entrepreneur), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Larry Ellison (from the software sector) and Warren Buffett (American investor).
Furthermore, it states that seven of the ten largest companies in the world have a billionaire as president or main shareholder.
Faced with these deep inequalities, the NGO reiterates that Transformative public action capable of prioritizing public services is urgentadvocate for greater regulation of big business, break up monopolies, and apply permanent taxes on excess wealth and profits.
Specifically, the NGO says that the combined wealth of the five richest men in the world has gone from 405,000 million dollars to 869,000 million -an increase of 14 million dollars per hour-.
Meanwhile, the wealth concentrated by nearly 5 billion people has decreased, so at this rate, It would take 229 years to eradicate poverty globally.
In its report, titled ‘Inequality SA’, Oxfam reveals that The combined market value of mega companies is $10.2 trillion.more than the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of all countries in Africa and Latin America.
“We are witnessing what seems like the beginning of a new decade of great division, in which billions of people face the economic effects of the pandemic, inflation and war, while the fortunes of billionaires grow exorbitantly,” said the acting executive director of Oxfam International, Amitabh Behar, when releasing The report.
“This inequality is no coincidence; billionaires ensure that large companies generate more wealth for them at the expense of the rest of the population”, he added.
As he explained, the growing power of large companies and monopolies has become “a machine for generating inequalities” and set up tax evasion schemes, privatize public services and accelerate climate collapse.
“These large corporations also channel power, undermining our democracies and rights. No company or person should be able to monopolize so much power over our economies and our lives. In other words: no one should own a billion dollars,” she pointed out.
The disproportionate increase in wealth in the last three years has been consolidated while Global poverty continues at levels similar to those recorded before the pandemicsays the report.
Like the fortunes of the super-rich, big companies will gain record annual profits in 2023, says Oxfam.
The report reveals that for every $100 of profits generated by 96 large companies between July 2022 and June 2023, $82 ended up in the hands of rich shareholders.
According to Oxfam, in Spain, in 2022, The richest 10% of the country’s population concentrated more than half of the value of wealth. The richest 1% monopolized 22% of that wealth, while the poorest 50% of households barely reached 8%.
The NGO analyzed how 50 of the main Spanish companies contribute to aggravating inequalities.
The extreme concentration in key sectors, such as electricity, where a small number of players dominate up to 86.1% of the marketor banking, encourages behavior contrary to the interests of the majority of citizens, he adds.
In Latin America, the wealth of the three richest billionaires in the region (Carlos Slim Helu and family, Germán Larrea Mota Velasco and family and Iris Fontbona and family) has increased 70% since 2020while the bottom half has become impoverished.
“Monopolies negatively affect innovation and have devastating effects for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as for workers,” said Behar.