NEWS & ANALYSIS

CRONY CAPITALISM: Global Billionaires’ Wealth Skyrocketed $3.9 Trillion During Pandemic


It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic created economic turmoil worldwide. But, a new report by Oxfam International reveals that policies enacted around the world catalyzed further concentration of wealth, while widening the already gaping global wealth inequality.

While this was characterized as actions taken by “capitalist governments,” the policies in question can more accurately be described as fascist in nature; large centralized governments working in tandem with large corporations to control economic and political policies.

Summarizing the report, the pandemic made the rich richer and the poor poorer.

The report notes that for the first time since the late 1800s, “per capita incomes are expected to decline in all regions.”

“This means it is likely that COVID-19 will drive up inequality in virtually every country on earth simultaneously,” it adds. “This will be the first time that this has happened since records of inequality began over a century ago.”

“The total number of billionaires nearly doubled in the ten years after the financial crisis of 2008, and between 2017-2018 a new billionaire was created every two days.” Meanwhile, Oxfam estimates that globally, 56 percent of the population lives on between $2 and $10 a day.

Over the last year, while millions around the world lost their jobs and loved ones, billionaires reaped the benefits no one else was able to, seeing a collective wealth increase of $3.9 trillion between March 18 and December 31, 2020.

Interestingly enough, the 10 richest “pandemic profiteers” include Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Nongfu Spring’s Zhong Shanshan and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Together, they saw their wealth increase by over $540 billion.

In his 2020 Amazon number one bestseller, Human Events co-publisher Jeff Webb made the argument that the “unholy alliance” of big government joined together with very large corporations was increasingly causing a gap in income and making greater the distance between rich and poor.

Together, the world’s billionaires control approximately $11.95 trillion in wealth, which Oxfam identifies is “equivalent to what G20 governments (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and the EU) have spent collectively in response to the pandemic.”

Indeed, while it took the world’s top 1,000 billionaires a mere nine months to recover their wealth after the stock market plummeted in March 2020, estimates show it could take the world’s poor over a decade.

And, while the booming top corporations saw a decent increase in profits, small businesses saw the opposite: “small businesses in the US looked likely to lose over 85 percent of their profits in the second quarter of [2020].”