Richest 1% bag two-thirds of $42 trillion in new wealth: Oxfam

Charity calls for more taxes on the rich as World Economic Forum gathers for annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Nighttime skyline of the Davos Congress Centre, the venue of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023, in the Alpine resort of Davos, Switzerland.
The World Economic Forum is meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this week to discuss issues of global concern [File: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters]

The world’s top 1 percent grabbed nearly two-thirds of the $42 trillion in new wealth created since 2020, Oxfam says in a new report released to coincide with the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The share was almost twice as much money as the amount obtained by the bottom 99 percent of the world’s population, according to Oxfam’s “Survival of the Richest” report released on Monday.

Billionaire fortunes are increasing by $2.7bn a day, while at least 1.7 billion workers now live in countries where inflation is outpacing wages, the report said.

At the same time, half of the world’s billionaires live in countries with no inheritance tax for direct descendants, Oxfam said, putting them on track to pass on $5 trillion to their heirs, more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Africa.

Oxfam said a 5 percent tax on the world’s multi-millionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7 trillion a year, enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty.

Speaking to Al Jazeera in Davos, Oxfam’s Executive Director Gabriela Bucher called the findings of the report “shocking”.

“It’s shameful that … one percent of humanity is taking double the wealth of the whole 99 percent combined,” she said.

“It outpaces what was happening in the last 10 years – which was that they were having half and half. So we can see that wealth accumulation is accelerating in the middle of this crisis that we’re facing globally,”  Bucher added.

“What we’re calling for is for countries to introduce new taxes and discussing in those countries what is fair … in certain countries like Nigeria or in India, we know that wealth taxation could be a significant change for the budget of the country, and would enable them to invest much more in health and education – things that matter to everyone.”

The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos brings together global business and political leaders to discuss political and economic issues of global concern.

The summit, which takes place from Monday to Friday, will be attended by 52 heads of state and nearly 600 CEOs.

Source: Al Jazeera