Since Covid-19, “the richest 1% have captured 63% of the wealth produced”

Bernard Arnault, CEO of the LVMH group alongside Minister Bruno Lemaire to inaugurate the Louis Vuitton workshops in Vendôme. (©Lucile AGERON/Actu.fr/Archives)

“Every billionaire represents a failure of public policy.” In its latest report on inequalities, published at the opening of the Davos Forum on Monday, January 16, 2023, the NGO Oxfam denounces “the extreme concentration of wealth” and calls for a drastic reduction in the number of ultra-rich.

The NGO Oxfam is campaigning to halve the number of billionaires by 2030 thanks to taxation. In the long term, this citizen movement that fights against poverty and inequalities defends its total “abolition”.

Great fortunes have flown in recent years

“Economic inequality” has become “an existential threat to our societies, undermining our ability to contain poverty” and placing “the future of the planet […] at risk”, writes the NGO.

A message delivered on the day of the start of a week of exchanges between economic and political elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

Driven by rising stock prices, great fortunes have skyrocketed in the last ten years: out of 100 dollars of wealth created, 54.40 dollars went into the pockets of the richest 1%, while 70 cents benefited the less fortunate 50%, summarizes the NGO .

As we navigate unprecedented times marked by multiple crises, the ultra-rich have gotten significantly richer since 2020 and corporate profits have reached all-time highs. Billionaires around the world have earned more than $2.7 billion a day since the crisis began, while companies in the food and energy sectors have more than doubled their profits in 2022.

New Oxfam report on global inequality

Billionaires have doubled their fortunes while increasing in numbers, says Oxfam, whose director general, Gabriela Bucher, is invited to Switzerland:

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Since 2020, they have earned US$2.7 billion a day thanks to public intervention against Covid-19, according to calculations by the NGO that cites France and Bernard Arnault “now the man the richest in the worldwith a fortune equivalent to that of nearly 20 million French men and women”.

“Extreme concentration of wealth undermines economic growth”

The stock market appreciation of the LVMH group benefited its CEO Bernard Arnault, who recently became the richest man in the world, dethroning the American Elon Musk, boss of Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter.

The fortune of the Arnault family, which controls the group, is estimated at almost US$ 205 billion, according to the ranking forbes.

However, “extreme concentration of wealth undermines economic growth, corrupts politicians and the media, erodes democracy and increases polarization,” writes the report.

Taxation has a “crucial” role to play

According to Oxfam, taxation has a “crucial” role to play in reducing the number of billionaires on the planet and should affect the income and capital of the richest.

Among the measures proposed in this report, an exceptional tax on wealth, a tax on dividends and an increase in taxation on labor and capital income of the richest 1%.

Capital, a financial gain “much more important than salaries” for large fortunes, should be taxed more on gains obtained, namely through the sale of shares, but also through simple ownership, underlines the organization. The “superprofits” of companies are also in the sights of Oxfam, which proposes to tax exceptional profits more.

Oxfam is also calling on the government to implement greater aid targeted at those who suffer most from the cost of living crisis.

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