These past few years have been challenging economically for many if not most people.
For the super-rich, on the other hand, life is good, thank you very much.
The nonprofit organization Oxfam says in a new report that the world’s five richest men saw their combined wealth more than double from March 2020 to the end of 2023.
We’re talking about Tesla’s Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Oracle’s Larry Ellison, investor Warren Buffett and LVMH boss Bernard Arnault.
Early in the pandemic, they were worth a combined $405 billion. Now, Oxfam says, their wealth has more than doubled to $869 billion.
In terms of income, that means these guys’ net worth was rising by $14 million per hour. Nice work if you can get it.
“Meanwhile,” Oxfam observes, “people worldwide face a prolonged cost-of-living crisis, climate breakdown, and conflict. Many are still reeling from the pandemic and working harder and longer hours, often for poverty wages in precarious and unsafe jobs.”
Put another way, the report notes that the world’s billionaires have accumulated another $3.3 trillion since 2020.
The richest 1% now own 43% of the world’s financial assets, Oxfam found.
Maybe that would be a bit more palatable if all that loot was the result of innovative products or unparalleled business savvy.
The reality is that the wealthy are simply more heavily invested in financial markets, the proceeds from which are taxed less onerously than most other forms of income.
Which is to say, the system is rigged to make the rich richer and the rest of us — well, you know.
Not surprisingly, Oxfam predicts we’ll see the world’s first trillionaire within a decade.