Wealth of 10 richest men ‘doubled in pandemic’

The pandemic has made the world’s wealthiest richer but led to more people living in poverty, according to the charity Oxfam.

Lower incomes for the world’s poorest contributed to the death of 21,000 people each day, its report claims.

But the world’s 10 richest men have more than doubled their collective fortunes since March 2020, Oxfam said.

Oxfam typically releases a report on global inequality at the start of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

That event usually sees thousands of corporate and political leaders, celebrities, campaigners, economists and journalists gather in the Swiss ski resort for panel discussions, drinks parties and schmoozing.

However for the second year running, the meeting (scheduled for this week) will be online-only after the emergence of the Omicron variant derailed plans to return to an in-person event.

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We’re Living Through the Greatest Transfer of Wealth From the Middle Class to the Elites in History

Recent history is punctuated with a lot of not-so-great economic “greats” from the Great Depression to the Great Recession. Now we have a new one: When historians look back on the decisions made beginning in March 2020 and still going strong, this period will be remembered as the “Great Consolidation”—the acceleration of a historic wealth transfer and power concentration out of the hands of the middle class and into those with political power and connections.

The “connected” form a powerful bloc comprised of big government, big business and big special interests. And though their monikers label them “big,” they are comprised of relatively small elites. And they are seeking to use their power to benefit themselves at your expense.

Prior to COVID, more than 30 million small businesses accounted for about half the GDP and jobs in America; the other half of the economy was concentrated in 20,000 big companies. So you might have expected that small businesses would have had an equal amount of negotiating power when the pandemic hit as big companies. You would be wrong.

Big companies have more lobbying dollars and more connections, and thus more ability to play the political game. Their big pockets are balanced with a small enough scope to make them a government ally, compared to the highly decentralized small business landscape.

As a result, big firms were deemed “essential” and allowed to stay open during the pandemic, while small businesses were subjected to punishing lockdown orders and forced to close, in part or completely. Many of the examples were doubly infuriating given the absurd hypocrisies they presented. For example, big box pet retailers like PetSmart that groomed pet hair and nails were deemed essential—while salons owned by small business owners that served humans were not. The LA-area Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill was forced to close their outdoor dining—while a movie production not only operated but hosted a catering tent serving food to crew in the same parking lot that the restaurant had been forced to abandon. Weed dispensaries, illegal just a handful of years ago in many jurisdictions, were suddenly deemed essential.

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Pandemic Wiped Out Entire Savings Of 20% Of US Households

Over the weekend, we showed a staggering wealth distribution statistic cementing the US status as a banana republic: according to Fed data which breaks down the distribution of wealth according to income quintile (or 20% bucket) the middle 60% of US households by income saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%.

While especially true for the top 1%, it is all the rich that have benefited from the Fed’s generous liquidity pump at the expense of the extinction of the US middle class – as the next chart shows, over the past 30 years, 10 percentage points of American wealth has shifted to the top 20% of earners, who now hold 70% of the total. The bottom 80% are left with less than 30%.

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