The world's richest people have been able to increase their wealth in unprecedented ways during the pandemic.

The non-governmental organization Oxfam notes and criticizes this development in its annual wealth report.

The world's billionaires have increased their wealth "more during the pandemic than in all of the previous fourteen years - fourteen years that have themselves resembled a gold rush for the super-rich," the authors write, citing data sources such as the Forbes Rich List and Credit's wealth statistics Suisse.

Johannes Pennekamp

Responsible editor for economic reporting, responsible for "The Lounge".

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Between March 2020 and November 2022, e-car pioneer Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, increased his fortune by more than 1000 percent to almost $300 billion.

The ten richest people, including Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, would have more than doubled their wealth.

The ten richest Germans, who according to Oxfam are led by the Aldi heirs Beate Heister and Karl Albrecht junior, were able to increase their wealth by almost 80 percent in just under two years.

The activists criticize this increase mainly because the gap to the poorer people has “dramatically widened”.

163 million more people than before the pandemic were now living below the World Bank's expanded poverty line of $5.50 a day.

Again and again criticism of Oxfam's report

The Oxfam organization has repeatedly had to put up with methodological and content-related criticism for its reports in recent years.

One point of criticism: You ignore progress in poorer countries, for example in the health and education sectors, and only focus on the negative.

On the one hand, the organization is not alone in its criticism this year. Just last week, World Bank boss David Malpass complained that the race to catch up in poorer countries had come to a standstill. He warned that the gap is widening again. On the other hand, the new report does not question the causes of growing wealth, but focuses exclusively on their supposedly negative consequences.

The innovation of the Covid vaccines, which according to experts have saved millions of lives, is viewed from the perspective of "what happens when profits count for more than the protection of human rights and human lives".

The result is on the one hand five new pharmaceutical billionaires, including the Biontech founders Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, "on the other hand, a blatant injustice in the distribution of vaccines".

Oxfam is calling for the patent protection for the vaccines to be suspended and "made available to all people worldwide free of charge".