Oxfam railed against crisis winners: Higher wealth tax demanded


KShortly before the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the non-governmental organization Oxfam appealed to governments around the world to tax the rich more heavily and to fight poverty in developing countries. “For the first time in 25 years, extreme wealth and extreme poverty have increased simultaneously,” says the Survival of the Richest report, to be released this Monday.

The authors of the internationally active development organization denounce that the richest people in the world have greatly increased their wealth since the beginning of the pandemic. “Since 2020, $26 trillion (63 percent) of the total $42 trillion in wealth gains went to the richest 1 percent of the world’s population, while 99 percent shared the rest,” the report said, citing data sources others of the bank CreditSuisse and the business magazine “Forbes”.

In Germany, wealth growth is even more concentrated on the rich than internationally. The wealth of billionaires “has also skyrocketed in 2022, driven by soaring profits in the food and energy sectors,” the Oxfam authors write. They briefly mention that the total wealth of global billionaires is down slightly in 2022 compared to the 2021 peak. But it is “still trillions of dollars larger than before the corona pandemic”.

At the same time, 828 million people – roughly every tenth person on earth – would have to go hungry today. The World Bank has also been warning for a long time that the pandemic is wiping out many years of poverty reduction and that hunger is increasing again, partly because of rising food prices. After years of crisis, a growing problem in the poorer countries is high debt and rising interest rates: “The lowest-income countries in the world now spend four times more on debt repayments than on health care,” calculated Oxfam. Three-quarters of the world’s governments plan to cut public sector spending, such as education and healthcare, by a total of $7.8 trillion over the next five years.

The recipes Oxfam is proposing are known from previous reports. Above all, the organization relies on higher taxes for billionaires, heirs and companies. Fighting “racial inequality” and promoting gender equality are among the many benefits Oxfam sees in this: Of the 1,000 richest billionaires, only 124 are women, and only five of the richest people are black. Flat taxes like VAT would have to be disproportionately paid by the poorest – “who in turn are more likely to be women and members of racial groups,” Oxfam said.



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