The world could see its first trillionaire with the next decade, according to assessment of global inequalities published earlier this week by UK-based non-profit Oxfam International. The report also notes that ending poverty – the target for which is 2030 under the UN Sustainable Development Goals – may not be possible for another 229 years. According to Time Magazine, the world got its first billionaire in 1916, when John D Rockefeller achieved the status largely through his ownership of Standard Oil. Since then, the rise of the ultra rich has raised concerns about systemic exploitation lurking behind the widening wealth gap, the outlet further said.
But despite the criticism, the gap between the rich and the poor has only widened. The Oxfam report said that the world’s five richest people have more than doubled their wealth since 2020. These are Tesla CEO Elon Musk, LVMH owner Bernard Arnault, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Oracle founder Larry Ellison and investor Warren Buffett.
Since their names have been highlighted in the Oxfam report, several outlets – like Fortune and USA Today – are claiming that one of them could reach the trillionaire status. The analysis is based on Forbes data that shows Mr Musk is on top with a wealth of $226.6 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time rankings released on Wednesday. Bernard Arnault and his family own $175.1 billion, followed by Jeff Bezos with $173.6 billion, Larry Ellison with $134.9 billion and Warren buffet with $119.5 billion.
Oxfam said the “supercharged” surge enjoyed by the wealthy in the last three year has meant that billionaires are $3.3 billion richer than in 2020, their wealth growing three times faster than the rate of inflation.
The report also showed that nearly five billion people worldwide were made poorer since 2020.
While tax laws, monopolies and deregulation ensure that the cash is funnelled into pockets of the wealthy elite, “billions of people (are) shouldering the economic shockwaves of pandemic, inflation and war,” Oxfam International Interim Executive Director Amitabh Behar said in a statement.
“This inequality is no accident. The billionaire class is ensuring corporations deliver more wealth to them at the expense of everyone else,” Mr Behar said.
To address the imbalance, Oxfam called for a wealth tax on the world’s millionaires and billionaires that it says could bring in $1.8 trillion dollars each year.
The charity also called to cap CEO pay and break up private monopolies