While the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a major blow to the global economy, pushing tens of millions of people into poverty, the wealth of the world's richest billionaires has grown substantially during the pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequality in the global distribution of wealth, according to a new report compiled by Forbes.
The wealth of the world's 10 richest people has doubled during the pandemic, reaching six times the combined wealth of the world's poorest 3.1 billion people.
The compiled data shows that the total wealth of billionaires soared from $8.6 trillion in March 2020 to $13.8 trillion in November 2021, an increase of more than $5 trillion and more than the growth of the past 14 years combined.
The combined wealth of the world's 10 richest billionaires has more than doubled, averaging more than $1.3 billion a day.
The report, released ahead of this year's online World Economic Forum in Davos, will have an impact on the government's push for policies such as a "rich tax".
Some proponents of a wealthy tax say it should be used to fund the health care system, pay for vaccines and fight the climate crisis.
Central banks have pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets to stimulate economies during the coronavirus pandemic, but the latest wealth report shows that much of that economic support has ended up in the pockets of billionaires buoyed by the stock market boom.
Tech giants were the biggest movers of the S&P 500's gains last year.
The six best performers on the index in 2021 are all big tech companies, led by Microsoft and Apple, which have gained 51% and 34%, respectively, over the past year.
The world's top 10 billionaires include Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Amazon founder Bezos.
According to real-time data from Forbes, Musk and Bezos are currently worth $268.1 billion and $188 billion, respectively.
Musk's net worth has increased by more than $100 billion in the past year.
Apple CEO Tim Cook will receive a salary of $98.73 million in fiscal 2021, more than 1,400 times the median salary of Apple employees.
Zhang Jun, Dean of the School of Economics at Fudan University, told Yicai.com: "Whether the epidemic will make the rich richer is not a general conclusion, but under the epidemic, the wealth of the digital economy and traditional export manufacturers may be It's growing relatively faster."
Critics argue that the uneven development of the economic structure has not only reduced everyone's ability to withstand the pandemic, but has also enabled those already very wealthy and powerful to use the crisis for their own personal gain.
The number of the world's poorest people has risen for the first time in more than 20 years since the coronavirus pandemic, according to World Bank estimates.
In 2020, 97 million people worldwide will fall into extreme poverty, living on less than $2 a day.
Under the epidemic, the food crisis and vaccine inequality have become major problems.
In November, David Beasley, director of the United Nations’ World Food Program, called on billionaires including Bezos and Musk to act now to help tackle world hunger “in one go.”
The call received a direct response from Musk, who said on social media that he would immediately sell Tesla stock and take action if the group could show exactly how the money would solve the problem.
In the United States, Democrats have proposed an annual tax on the investment earnings of billionaires to fund the Biden administration's $1.75 trillion social and climate plan.
Democrats argue that this approach would also close a loophole for the super-rich to defer capital gains tax payments indefinitely.
In response, Musk said on social media last month that he expects to pay more than $11 billion in personal taxes in 2021 and that he will pay more in taxes than any American in history.
Musk has successively sold as much as 10% of Tesla stock in the last two months of 2021, for a total value of nearly $20 billion.
Over the past year, Tesla's market cap has topped $1 trillion.
Musk has publicly opposed a "rich man tax."
He believes that the government should interfere as little as possible in the commercial market, because the US government is far less efficient at disposing of wealth than many commercial companies.
Zhang Jun also believes that there is no need to levy a "rich tax".
He told the first financial reporter: "We should believe that the rich can better serve the society."
The Covid-19 pandemic has also increased global inequalities in vaccination, with some poor people unable to access vaccines.
The WHO has criticized wealthy countries for hoarding vaccines and boosting their populations, but failing to deliver on promises to share them with developing countries.
The United States had previously pledged to donate 500 million doses of the vaccine to low- and middle-income countries through the WHO's COVAX COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Plan.Keywords: