Oxfam International, the anti-poverty organization, has warned that the world could witness its first trillionaire within the next ten years. This prediction was made in Oxfam’s annual assessment of global inequality, coinciding with the gathering of political and economic elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
According to Oxfam, the wealth gap has continued to widen, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization highlighted that the fortunes of the five richest individuals, including Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison, and Warren Buffett, have increased by 114% in real terms since 2020.
Oxfam’s acting executive director, Amitabh Behar, expressed concern about the growing division in the world, stating that the top five billionaires have doubled their wealth while nearly 5 billion people have become poorer.
The organization predicts that a trillionaire, someone with a net worth of one trillion dollars, could emerge within the next decade. This astronomical wealth would be equivalent to the entire economy of a nation like Saudi Arabia.
Oxfam emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequality, with many developing countries unable to provide necessary financial assistance during lockdowns, resulting in a significant rise in poverty. Factors such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, leading to an increase in energy and food costs, disproportionately affected poorer nations.
Oxfam called for measures to address inequality, including permanent taxation of the wealthiest individuals in each country, more effective taxation of large corporations, and a renewed fight against tax evasion. The organization believes that these steps should be part of a comprehensive program aimed at combating inequality.
To determine the ranking of the five richest billionaires, Oxfam used Forbes’ figures as of November 2023, revealing a total wealth of $869 billion, compared to $340 billion in March 2020, reflecting a nominal increase of 155%. For the poorest 60% of the global population, Oxfam relied on data from the UBS Global Wealth Report 2023 and the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2019, both using the same methodology.
As Brazil hosts this year’s Group of 20 summit, Oxfam sees it as an opportune time to raise awareness about inequality, with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva prioritizing issues concerning developing countries on the G20 agenda.