The wealth of the world’s five richest people has more than doubled since 2020

(CNN) — The five richest people on Earth have become very rich in recent years.

After taking inflation into account, the total wealth of these billionaires has increased by 114% since 2020, to a total of US$869 billion, according to Oxfam’s annual inequality report published this Sunday. If current trends continue, the world may see its first billionaire in a decade.

At the same time, facing inflation, war and climate crisis, about 5 billion people around the world have become poor. It will take about 230 years to eliminate poverty on the current trajectory.

The report, which is based on data compiled by Forbes, is timed to coincide with the start of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an exclusive gathering of some of the world’s richest people and leaders.

Nabil Ahmed, director of racial and economic justice at Oxfam America, said that although inequality is growing, there are some bright spots. Workers were showing their strength through strikes and agreements that improved their compensation and working conditions. Furthermore, some governments were in favor of promoting policies aimed at strengthening workers’ rights.

“We are in a new golden age, but workers, regulators, and unions and community organizers are beginning to sabotage it,” Ahmed said.

rising fortune

Elon Musk, who runs several companies including Tesla and SpaceX, has been a big winner in recent years. After accounting for inflation, his wealth rose to $245.5 billion at the end of November, up 737% from March 2020.

Bernard Arnault, chairman of French luxury goods giant LVMH, and his family had a net worth of $191.3 billion, an increase of 111%.

Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, was worth US$167.4 billion, up 24%; While Oracle founder Larry Ellison’s wealth increased by 107% to $145.5 billion.

The list of the five richest people includes Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, whose net worth has increased by 48% to $119.2 billion.

Overall, billionaires have seen their wealth increase by $3.3 trillion, or 34%, since 2020, according to Oxfam, and their wealth has grown three times faster than the rate of inflation.

American billionaires, many of whom earned their wealth from the capital of their companies, are $1.6 trillion richer.

Oxfam Millionaire

Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Bernard Arnault, Larry Ellison, and Elon Musk have all become very wealthy in recent years. (Credit: Getty Images)

corporate power

In this year’s report, Oxfam argues that companies are making huge profits, which is helping the fortunes of the rich shine. Seven of the world’s 10 largest public companies have billionaire CEOs or billionaire major shareholders.

Furthermore, the richest 1% own 43% of the world’s financial wealth, according to Oxfam, based on Wealth In the United States, the group has a 32% share; In Asia it is 50%. In the Middle East, the top 1% holds 48% of financial wealth, while in Europe it is 47%.

Oxfam said the world’s 148 largest corporations made profits of almost $1.8 trillion in the 12 months to June 2023. This is 52.5% higher than its average between 2018 and 2021. Oxfam reports that the oil and gas industry, pharmaceutical companies and the financial industry have made higher profits in the past year or two than their average in previous years.

“We ignore, at our peril, the role of monopoly power in redistributing wealth to the top,” Ahmed said.

Oxfam is calling on governments to intervene.

“Public power can rein in runaway corporate power and inequality, making markets fairer and free from the control of billionaires,” Amitabh Behar, acting executive director of Oxfam International, said in a statement. “Governments must intervene to break up monopolies, empower workers, tax these huge corporate profits and, importantly, invest in a new era of public goods and services.”


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