Billionaires saw their fortunes soar by $5 trillion during the pandemic, according to a study by Oxfam, an anti-poverty organization.
"Billionaires have had a terrific pandemic," Oxfam International’s Executive Director Gabriela Bucher said. "Central banks pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets to save the economy, yet much of that has ended up lining the pockets of billionaires riding a stock market boom.
"Vaccines were meant to end this pandemic, yet rich governments allowed pharma billionaires and monopolies to cut off the supply to billions of people. The result is that every kind of inequality imaginable risks rising. The predictability of it is sickening. The consequences of it kill."
The Oxfam study used data compiled by Forbes, CNN noted. Oxfam said the total wealth of billionaires increased from $8.6 trillion in March 2020 to $13.8 trillion in November 2021. It is a bigger increase than in the previous 14 years combined.
The wealthiest 10 people in the world saw their collective wealth more than double, shooting up by $1.3 billion a day, the study said.
Oxfam, attributing the information to Forbes, listed the 10 richest people on Nov. 30 as: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault & family, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer, and Warren Buffett.
"If these 10 men were to lose 99.999% of their wealth tomorrow, they would still be richer than 99% of all the people on this planet," Bucher said. "They now have six times more wealth than the poorest 3.1 billion people.
"Inequality at such pace and scale is happening by choice, not chance. Not only have our economic structures made all of us less safe against this pandemic, they are actively enabling those who are already extremely rich and powerful to exploit this crisis for their own profit."
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