Did you know that a new billionaire was created every 30 hours during the Covid pandemic?
This is according to a new Oxfam report which reported that 573 people became billionaires during the pandemic, with 5 new billionaires minted in Australia in a single year.
Of course, we know that during the pandemic, people around the world had been hit with the rising cost of petrol and food.
But as Oxfam Australia CEO Lyn Morgan explained:
“The pandemic and now steep increases in food energy prices have simply put, been a bonanza for these billionaires.”
But how is this possible?
To put it simply, as COVID-19 spread, central banks injected trillions into economies, aiming to keep the world economy afloat.
Now, much of that stimulus has gone into financial markets, and from there into the net worth of billionaires.
Likewise, governments have pumped $16 trillion dollars into the global economy since the start of the pandemic, and as a consequence, billionaires have seen their wealth increase by $5 trillion, rising from $8.6 trillion to $13.8 trillion since March 2021, as this government intervention has driven up stock prices.
This has caused billionaires’ wealth to rise more in the first two years of Covid-19 than in 23 years.
As a result, the total wealth of the world’s billionaires is now equivalent to 13.9 per cent of the global GDP.
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Source: Forbes / Oxfam calculations
The report also revealed that energy, food, and pharmaceutical corporations were posting record-high profits.
In fact, as prices of energy increased throughout 2021, hitting their highest in over a decade, both the profits and the profit margins of energy companies soared.
At the same time, the fortunes of food and energy billionaires have risen by US$453billion in the past two years, which is equivalent to US$1 billion every two days.
This means that five of the largest energy companies (BP, Shell, TotalEnergies, Exxon and Chevron) are together making $2600 profit every second.
And there are now 62 new food billionaires.
“The pandemic and now the steep increases in food and energy prices have simply put, been a bonanza for these billionaires,” Oxfam Australia CEO Lyn Morgain said.
“Billionaires’ fortunes have not increased because they are now smarter or working harder. Workers are working harder, for less pay and in worse conditions,” Morgain said.