Imagine that you were granted one wish, and that wish were that America got to watch a real-world Hollywood switcheroo involving Jeff Bezos and an Amazon warehouse worker. And now hold onto that pleasant thought so you can stomach this news: According to a new Oxfam study, the spare change that the world’s top ten billionaires picked up since March 2020 is “more than enough to prevent anyone on Earth from falling into poverty because of the virus.”
Not only has the Oxfam study found that the top 1,000 billionaires have, on average, recovered nearly all of their pre-pandemic wealth, but as has beenreportedendlessly, the top of the top have hoovered up tens of billions more than their previous highs. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows that Elon Musk’s wealth has nearly quintupled from an all-time high of $41 billion in February, to a current sum of $202 billion. Jeff Bezos has increased his wealth from a pre-pandemic high of $164 billion to $192 billion, and Bill Gates from $120 billion to $133 billion. In October, Swiss Bank attributed much of the rise in fortunes to the stock market boom.
Oxfam’s study stresses the fact that wealth inequality is disproportionately punishing Black people, women, Indigenous peoples, and marginalized populations throughout the world. At the same time, a few people, mostly white men, are profiting from those problems.