Oxfam, a charity confederation, has said that while the wealth of the world’s top 10 richest people has doubled during the pandemic, the poor around the globe continue to suffer due to a dearth of vaccines and treatment.
“A 99% one-off windfall tax on the Covid-19 wealth gains of the 10 richest men alone would generate $812bn,” the report states, noting these 10 men have six times more money than the poorest 3.1 billion people.
The report, titled ‘Inequality kills’, claims that the rich have profited from structural and systemic policy choices which are skewed in their favor. Meanwhile, the poor have been directedly harmed by these decisions.
“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,” Oxfam said.
The charity claims that billionaires have thrived through the pandemic and that fiscal and monetary stimulus measures have contributed to their wealth as the stock market boomed.
“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,” Oxfam International Executive Director Gabriela Bucher said in the report.
Oxfam adds that the proportion of those who die from Covid-19 in developing countries is roughly double that in rich ones.
The report was released ahead of this week’s virtual World Economic Forum meetings, traditionally held in Davos, where leaders will discuss global challenges.