Oxfam in Davos: The world could have its first trillionaire in 10 years

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The world could get its first trillionaire in a decade, it said Monday in its annual assessment of global inequality, which was held at a gathering of political and business elites in Swiss ski resort Davos.

Oxfam, which has been trying for years to highlight the growing disparity between the super rich and the majority of the world's population over time Annual meeting of the World Economic Forumbelieves the gap has “widened” since the coronavirus pandemic.

The group estimated the wealth of the five richest people – the CEO of Tesla Elon MuskBernard Arnault and his family of luxury company LVMH, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Oracle founder Larry Ellison and investment guru Warren Buffett — has jumped 114% in real terms since 2020, when the world was reeling from the pandemic.

Oxfam's interim chief executive said the report showed the world was entering a “decade of division”.

“We have the top five billionaires who have doubled their wealth. On the other hand, almost 5 billion people have become poorer,” Amitabh Behar said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland, where the forum's annual meeting is taking place this week.

“Very soon, Oxfam predicts we'll have a trillionaire within a decade,” Behar said, referring to a person with a thousand billion dollars. “But we need more than 200 years to fight poverty.”

If someone does reach that trillion-dollar milestone — and it could be someone who isn't even on any of the richest people's lists right now — he'd be worth the same as oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil became the world's first billionaire in 1916.

Currently, Musk is the richest man on the planet with a personal fortune of just under $250 billion, according to Oxfam, which used data from Forbes.

In contrast, the organization said nearly 5 billion people have been made poorer since the pandemic, with many developing countries unable to provide financial support that wealthier nations could between prisons.

In addition, Oxfam said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 sent energy and food costs are skyrocketingit disproportionately affects the poorest nations.

With Brazil hosting this year's summit of the Group of 20 leading industrialized and developing countries, it was “a good time for Oxfam to raise awareness” of inequality, said Max Lawson, Oxfam's head of inequality policy.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva put issues affecting the developing world at the center of the G20 agenda.

Oxfam said measures to consider in the program to “reduce inequality” include permanently taxing the richest in each country, which is more effective. taxation of large corporations and renewed efforts against tax avoidance.

To calculate the five richest billionaires, Oxfam used Forbes figures from November 2023. Their combined wealth was then $869 billion, up from $340 billion in March 2020, a nominal increase of 155%.

For the bottom 60% of the world's population, Oxfam used figures from the UBS Global Wealth Report 2023 and the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2019. Both used the same methodology.

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Pylas reported from London.

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