Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

The Billionaire Boom: How Covid money made its way into the hands of the wealthy

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Despite the economic hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, more than five million people became millionaires around the world in 2020

According to a new report released by Oxfam on Monday, as Covid wreaked havoc on the economy, the wealth of Indian billionaires increased by 35% during the lockdown and by 90% since 2009 to $422.9 billion, putting India in sixth place behind the United States, China, Germany, Russia, and France.

The world’s richest 1,000 people recovered their Covid-19 losses in just nine months, but it could take more than a decade for the world’s poorest to recover from the pandemic’s economic effects, according to a report released on the first day of the World Economic Forum’s ‘Davos Agenda.’ According to the Oxfam research, “the increase in wealth of India’s top 11 billionaires during the pandemic could maintain the NREGS scheme for ten years or the health ministry for ten years.” India’s top 100 millionaires have seen their fortunes rise by Rs 12.97 trillion since the government announced lockup in March. The money would have been enough to provide each of India’s 138 million poorest people a cheque for Rs 94,045.” “We are on the verge of witnessing the largest rise in inequality in recorded history. According to Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International, “the wide disparity between rich and poor is proving as lethal as the virus.”

“Rigged economies are funnelling income to a wealthy elite who are riding out the pandemic in style, while people on the frontlines of the pandemic — shop assistants, hospital workers, and market vendors — are suffering to pay their bills and feed their families.” Between March 18 and December 31, 2020, billionaires’ wealth increased by $3.9 trillion over the world. Their total wealth currently stands at $11.95 trillion, roughly equal to the amount spent by the G20 governments to combat the pandemic. Only three of the world’s top 50 billionaires had their fortunes dwindle over that time, losing a combined $3 billion.

 

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