Brussels (Brussels Morning) Oxfam has pointed to failures in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, which it blames for spiralling global inequality that it says must change, RFI reported on Monday.
Oxfam’s annual report on global inequality notes that the wealth of the ten wealthiest people in the world grew by about US$ 500 billion since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic even as the global economy contracted.
According to the report, these gains alone could pay for vaccinations for all and protect and prevent people from being pushed into poverty. The response to the pandemic will result in the largest growth of inequality ever experienced, unless authorities change their policies, the report warns.
Response creates more poverty
Oxfam stresses that after decades of decline, because of the coronavirus crisis, global poverty levels are trending upwards and likely to exceed 2020 levels in 2030.
Oxfam executive director Gabriela Bucher points out that “rigged economies are funnelling wealth to a rich elite who are riding out the pandemic in luxury, while those on the frontline of the pandemic – shop assistants, healthcare workers and market vendors – are struggling to pay the bills.”
Oxfam observes that economic measures purportedly aimed at providing aid and relief to those in need helped billionaires most of all.
The resulting crisis has affected the poor the most severely, with the World Bank pointing out that over 100 million people could drop below the extreme poverty line.
Oxfam France spokesman Quentin Parrinello pointed out that data shows about 40 French billionaires became richer as millions of French fell into poverty after the government imposed restrictions aimed at controlling the pandemic in March 2020.
Billionaires in France gained close to 175 billion euro, Parrinello noted, the third largest gain after top earners in China and the US. At the same time, the number of people receiving food aid in France has increased from approximately 5.5 million before the crisis to more than 8 million.