Australian billionaires double their wealth amid COVID | Liverpool City Champion

As millions of Australians struggle to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s billionaires have pocketed $205 million a day.

Anti-poverty charity Oxfam crunched the numbers and found that Australia’s 47 billionaires had doubled their collective net worth to $255 billion in the first two years of the crisis.

These men and women, who include business tycoons Gina Rinehart, James Packer and Frank Lowy, now own more wealth than the poorest 30% of Australians, which equates to around 7.7million people .

The findings of Oxfam’s report, released on Monday, were mirrored globally, with the world’s ten richest men also more than doubling their fortunes to $1.9 trillion.

More broadly, the 2,755 billionaires around the world have grown their fortunes more in the past two years than the previous 14 in total.

“This is the largest annual increase in billionaire wealth since records began. It is happening on every continent,” the Inequality Kills report says.

Their growing wealth has been attributed to soaring stock prices, the rise of unregulated entities, the rise of monopoly power and privatization, in addition to the erosion of tax rates and the regulation of individual businesses and workers’ rights and wages.

Oxfam Australia chief executive Lyn Morgain said billionaires had experienced a “terrible pandemic”.

“Central banks pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets to save the economy, but much of that ended up lining the pockets of billionaires profiting from a stock market boom,” he said. she stated.

The gross inequality has real-world consequences, with the report conservatively estimating that it contributes to at least 21,300 deaths every day, or one person every four seconds.

In Australia and the UK specifically, poor people and those in lower socio-economic areas were nearly 2.6 to four times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the wealthiest members of society.

The charity describes the trends as “alarming” and blames governments for allowing the “conditions of the COVID-19 virus to mutate dangerously”.

“At the same time, they have also created the conditions for a whole new variant of billionaire wealth. This variant, the billionaire variant, is profoundly dangerous to our world,” he said.

The rapid spread of the Omicron strain across the world after it was first detected in South Africa has also shown the deadly consequences of persistent inequalities, Ms Morgain says.

Oxfam has called on all governments to immediately tax the gains made by the super-rich during the pandemic, invest in evidence-based policies to save lives, and rewrite the rules within their economies.

“It’s time for the Australian government to take this issue seriously and take action to close the gap between rich and poor,” Ms Morgain said.

Australian Associated Press

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