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New study shows poverty grew, as the wealthy saw double profit gains

An Oxfam report found the world’s 10 wealthiest men became richer, while 160 million people fell into poverty.

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The pandemic did not only widen financial gaps for families around the world, but it also allowed for the wealthy to leverage more profit.

Oxfam, a social justice nonprofit combating inequality, published a new report on Monday measuring significant changes to people’s economic status from 2020 to 2021.

The movement used the term “economic violence” to describe how many struggled financially during COVID-19 shutdowns, and those who went nearly a year unemployed. They define economic violence as perpetrated policy changes that benefit the rich.

Billionaires saw significant profit increases as shopping behaviors and supply demands started to shift in March 2020. According to the study, the world’s 10 billionaire men doubled their fortunes as 99% of the population got poorer.

Forbes reports the top 10 billionaires of 2022 as Elon Musk (Tesla), Bernard Arnault (LVMH), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Larry Page (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Harkway), Sergey Brin (Google), and Steve Ballmer (Microsoft).

From March 2020 to October 2021, billionaires’ wealth grew from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion – about $1.3 billion per day, the study found.

A total of “252 wealthy men worldwide saw financial gain during the pandemic” more than “1 billion women and girls in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean” combined. Oxfam’s report argues that inequalities of this scale are not by simple chance, but a result of “political and historically disadvantaged economic choices.”

“One of the single most powerful tools we have to address this level of egregious and deadly inequality is to tax the rich,” said Abby Maxman, president of Oxfam America, in a statement. 

In the U.S., many Blacks and Latinos have felt the pinch of the pandemic with loss in low pay to finding emergency funds to cover funeral expenses.

The Oxfam report also states COVID-19 emergency relief largely contributed to the excess wealth increases of 2020 to 2021. Central banks distributed trillions of dollars to maintain global economies, and the government gave $16 trillion to support economic trade.  

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