Oxfam revealed this when announcing the five millionaires: Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison and Warren Buffet.

The wealth of the five richest men has doubled since 2020, while almost 5 billion people have become poorer since the start of the decade, according to the inequality report from non-governmental organization Oxfam.

To mark the launch of the World Economic Forum, which brings together business, political and academic leaders from many countries in Davos, Switzerland, Oxfam estimates that it could take more than two centuries to eradicate poverty.

According to Oxfam, they were the five richest men in the world at the end of November 2023 Elon Musk (X, former Twitter), Bernard Arnault (and his family/French luxury goods businessman), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Larry Ellison (software) and Warren Buffett (American investor).

It also says that seven of the ten largest companies in the world have a billionaire as president or main shareholder.

Faced with these deep inequalities, the NGO reiterates that transformative public action is urgently needed, capable of prioritizing public services, defending greater regulation of big business, ending monopolies and applying permanent taxes on wealth and excessive profits .

Specifically, the NGO says the combined wealth of the five richest men in the world has risen from $405 billion to $869 billion – an increase of $14 million per hour.

It will take more than 200 years to eradicate poverty

Meanwhile, the wealth of nearly 5 billion people has declined, so at this rate it would take 229 years to eradicate poverty worldwide.

In its report, titled ‘Inequality SA’, Oxfam reveals that the combined market value of mega-corporations is $10.2 trillion, more than the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of all countries in Africa and Latin America.

“We are witnessing what appears to be the beginning of a new decade of great division, as billions of people face the economic fallout from the pandemic, inflation and war, while the fortunes of billionaires grow exponentially,” the acting director said. of Oxfam International, Amitabh Behar, when the report was released.

“This disparity is not a coincidence; Billionaires allow big corporations to generate more wealth for them at the expense of the rest of the population,” he added.

As he explained, the growing power of big corporations and monopolies has become “a machine for generating inequality,” creating tax avoidance schemes, privatizing public services and accelerating climate collapse.

“These big companies also channel power and undermine our democracies and rights. No single company or individual should be able to monopolize so much power over our economies and our lives. In other words, no one should own a billion dollars,” he said.

The disproportionate increase in prosperity over the past three years has been consolidated, while global poverty continues at levels similar to pre-pandemic levels, the report said.

Like the fortunes of the super-rich, big companies will post record annual profits in 2023, says Oxfam.

The report shows that for every $100 in profits generated by 96 major companies between July 2022 and June 2023, $82 ended up in the hands of wealthy shareholders.

Latin American millionaires

In Latin America, the wealth of the three richest billionaires in the region (Carlos Slim Helu and family, Germán Larrea Mota Velasco and family and Iris Fontbona and family) has increased by 70% since 2020, while the bottom half has become poorer.

“Monopolies negatively impact innovation and have devastating consequences for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as for workers,” Behar said. (JO)