West News Wire: According to a new analysis issued on Monday by Oxfam International, the income of the top ten wealthiest men has risen throughout the coronavirus epidemic, fueling inequality that leads to the deaths of at least 21,300 people every day.
According to Oxfam’s Inequality Kills study, “we enter 2022 with unparalleled worry,” stating that the present global situation of excessive inequality is a sort of “economic violence” against the world’s poorest people and governments.
The research stated that in today’s severely unequal society, structural and systemic policy and political decisions are biased in favor of the richest and most powerful, resulting in harm to the majority of ordinary people throughout the world, using the COVID-19 vaccine disparity as an example.
“Millions of people would still be alive today if they had had a vaccine but they are dead, denied a chance while big pharmaceutical corporations continue to hold monopoly control of these technologies,” said Oxfam.
The report calculates that 252 men have more wealth than all one billion women and girls in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean combined. And 10 of the world’s richest men own more than the least affluent 3.1 billion people.
Moreover, while the rich got a whole lot richer during the pandemic, the incomes of 99 percent of humanity suffered.
Oxfam’s report is usually released prior to the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland but the gathering of the world’s richest and most powerful has been postponed again this year due to the pandemic.
Last week, WEF released its Global Risks Report 2022 (PDF) warning that the lopsided economic recovery from the coronavirus, much of which has relied on the roll-out of vaccinations, has deepened divisions within and between nations.
It also stressed that growing inequality, made worse by the pandemic, is sure to cause additional tensions, resentments and further complicate nations’ responses to climate change, economic disparities and social instabilities.
Despite efforts by the United Nations and governments over the last several decades to tackle poverty, and more evenly distribute technology and access to education, the world has been heading towards severe inequality for decades.
“These present-day divides are directly linked to historical legacies of racism, including slavery and colonialism,” the Oxfam report said.
The report notes that since 1995, the world’s top one-percenters have captured nearly 20 times more of global wealth than the bottom 50 percent. And the pandemic has made things much worse.
Low interest rates and government support aimed at helping economies recover from the COVID-19 blow in 2020 have boosted stock and other asset values, allowing the affluent to become even wealthier.
“Central banks’ trillions poured into financial markets to save the economy have resulted in an explosion in billionaire wealth – the largest increase in history – while the pandemic has left ordinary people poorer than they would have been if it had never happened,” Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam, told Al Jazeera.
Inequality of wealth has a negative impact on society as a whole. It also has a negative impact on the environment. According to Oxfam, twenty of the world’s wealthiest billionaires produce up to 8,000 times more carbon than the world’s poorest billion.