The 1000 richest people in the world recouped their Covid-19 losses within nine months, but it could take more than a decade for the world’s poorest to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, reveals a new Oxfam report.
The report, titled The Inequality Virus, surveyed 295 economists from 79 countries who said the coronavirus pandemic had the potential to increase economic inequality in almost every country at once.
“Rising inequality means it could take at least 14 times longer for the number of people living in poverty to return to pre-pandemic levels than it took for the fortunes of the top 1000, mostly white male, billionaires to bounce back,” it reads.
The report reveals that the rigged economic system is enabling a super-rich elite to amass wealth in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression, while billions of people are struggling to make ends meet.
It reveals how the pandemic has deepened long-standing economic, racial and gender divides.
“The recession is over for the richest. The world’s 10 richest men have seen their combined wealth increase by half a trillion dollars since the pandemic began —more than enough to pay for a Covid-19 vaccine for everyone and to ensure no one is pushed into poverty by the pandemic.
“At the same time, the pandemic has ushered in the worst job crisis in over 90 years with hundreds of millions of people now underemployed or out of work,” it reads.
Women are hardest hit, it revealed.
“Extreme inequality is not inevitable, but a policy choice. Governments around the world must seize this opportunity to build more equal, more inclusive economies that end poverty and protect the planet,” said Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International.
“The fight against inequality must be at the heart of economic rescue and recovery efforts. Governments must ensure everyone has access to a Covid-19 vaccine and financial support if they lose their job.
“These measures must not be band-aid solutions for desperate times but a ‘new normal’ in economies that work for the benefit of all people, not just the privileged few,” said Bucher.