One billionaire was minted every 30 hours during the pandemic. Now, a million people may fall into extreme poverty every 33 hours, Oxfam estimates.
- A billionaire was minted every 30 hours during the pandemic, per a new Oxfam report.
- Oxfam expects a million people to fall into extreme poverty every 33 hours in 2022.
One new billionaire was minted every 30 hours during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, one million people are expected to fall into extreme poverty every 33 hours.
That's according to a new report called Profiting from Pain, released by UK-based nonprofit Oxfam on May 23. To compile the report, Oxfam examined data gathered from Forbes' annual billionaires and from the World Bank.
A total of 573 people hit first-time billionaire status from March 2020 to March 2022, when central banks injected trillions of dollars into the global economy, the report found. The cash injected into the
In its 2022 World's Billionaires List, Forbes found China had minted 62 new billionaires, including Chris Xu, the founder of online fashion giant Shein. The US produced the second-highest quantity of pandemic billionaires, with 50 added to the list, including Gary Wang, the cofounder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and three family members of Minnesota-based agriculture company Cargill Inc. The Cargill family has a collective fortune of $51 billion as of September 2021, per Bloomberg.
While billionaires globally enjoy their windfall fortunes, ordinary people continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic.
In January 2021, 8.1 million Americans entered into poverty, Insider's Ayelet Sheffey reported, citing a study by the University of Chicago and University of Notre Dame economists. Oxfam expects 263 million more people to fall into extreme poverty by the end of 2022.
Around the world, the average person struggles with inflation and the rising cost of essential goods like flour, fuel, and electricity, the report states. As companies in sectors such as energy, food, and pharmaceuticals have enjoyed record-high profits, wages for workers in the same industries have seen minimal increases.
"The super-rich have rigged the system with impunity for decades and they are now reaping the benefits. They have seized a shocking amount of the world's wealth as a result of privatization and monopolies, gutting regulation and workers' rights while stashing their cash in tax havens — all with the complicity of governments," Gabriela Bucher, the executive director of Oxfam International, said in Oxfam's press release.
To overcome the wealth disparity, Oxfam recommends a permanent wealth tax on millionaires and billionaires at 2% and 5% a year respectively. This wealth tax could generate $2.52 trillion a year, lifting 2.3 billion people out of poverty, Oxfam estimates.
Oxfam did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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