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The wealth of the world’s five richest men more than doubled since 2020

today 01/15/2024
The five richest individuals in the world, including Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Bernard Arnault, Larry Ellison, and Elon Musk, have experienced significant increases in their wealth in recent years. According to Oxfam's annual inequality report, their combined net worth has risen by 114% to $869 billion since 2020, even after adjusting for inflation. If this trend continues, the world could see its first trillionaire within the next decade. Meanwhile, nearly 5 billion people worldwide have become poorer due to issues such as inflation, war, and the climate crisis. At the current pace, it would take approximately 230 years to eradicate poverty. Oxfam's report, which relies on data from Forbes, coincides with the start of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, attended by some of the world's wealthiest individuals and leaders. Despite the increasing inequality, there have been some positive developments, such as workers asserting their rights through strikes and negotiations, as well as governments implementing policies to protect workers' rights. Oxfam's director of economic and racial justice, Nabil Ahmed, suggests that cracks are starting to appear in the current wealth disparity. The report also highlights the rising fortunes of specific individuals, with Elon Musk experiencing the most significant increase in wealth, followed by Bernard Arnault, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison, and Warren Buffett. Overall, billionaires' wealth has grown by $3.3 trillion since 2020, outpacing inflation by three times. The report also emphasizes the influence of corporate power on wealth accumulation, with seven out of 10 of the world's largest public companies having billionaire CEOs or principal shareholders who contribute to the growing wealth disparity. The top 1% holds 43% of the world's financial assets, with higher percentages in regions such as Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Oxfam points out that 148 of the largest corporations earned nearly $1.8 trillion in profits in the past year, exceeding their average earnings from 2018 to 2021. Oxfam specifically mentions the oil and gas industry, pharmaceutical companies, and the financial sector as contributors to this profit surge. The organization calls on governments to intervene and address these issues by breaking up monopolies, empowering workers, taxing corporate profits, and investing in public goods and services.
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