The already existing inequalities of wealth, race and gender increased many fold during the Coviod 19 pandemic while the rich (individuals and corporations) only thrived, according to a new report from Oxfam.
The fortunes of billionaire returned to their pre-pandemic highs in nine months but recovery of the poorest could take over a decade, the Oxfam said in their report “Inequality Virus.”
The report exposes how the rigged economic system is helping the super-rich elite to amass wealth even in the midst of the worst recession even as billions of people are struggling to make ends meet. The study shows how the Covid 19 pandemic has deepened the long-standing economic, racial and gender divides.
The “Inequality Virus” says that transformative policies unthinkable earlier the pandemic suddenly came to be possible. “There can be no return to where we were before. Instead, citizens and governments must act on the urgency to create a more equal and sustainable world. They can do this by urgently transforming the current economic system, which has exploited and exacerbated patriarchy, white supremacy and neoliberal principles,” the report said.
In the survey, the Oxfam says 87 percent of the respondents think that Covid 19 will lead to an increase in income inequality in their country. Seventy-eight percent think that the pandemic will lead to an increase in wealth inequality in their country. Fifty-six percent say the pandemic will lead to an increase in gender inequality. It also said that 66 percent think that the pandemic will likely or very likely lead to an increase in racial inequality. Moreover, 67 per cent think that their government do not have a plan to mitigate the increase in inequality.
The Oxfam report mentions that inequality is the product of a flawed and exploitative economic system. This economic system has roots in neoliberal economics, led by political elites. It has also exploited and exposed the systems of inequality and oppression. All these systems are the root causes of injustice and poverty, the Oxfam report said. The system leads to the accumulation of huge profits in the hands of patriarchal elite.
RICH GOT RICHER, POOR BECAME MORE POOR
The report says that the increase in wealth of ten richest billionaires since the beginning of the pandemic is more than enough to prevent anyone on Earth from falling into poverty and pay for a vaccine for all. It said that the wealth of the billionaires increased by 3.9 trillion dollars between March and December 2020. The report said that their total wealth now stood at 11.95 trillion dollars, which was equivalent to spending by the G20 in response to Covid 19. It said that the wealth the richest billionaires in the world collectively had increased by 540 billion dollars. The report mentions that the global sales of private jets soared even as commercial travel was banned.
With respect to the poor people, the report mentions that millions of people lost their jobs and faced destitution and hunger. It said that the people living in poverty have increased between 200 to 500 millions. It also pointed out that most people lived just between two to ten dollars a day.
The pandemic exposed the worst effects of poorly funded public health systems and the failure of private systems. The likelihood of dying from COVID-19 is significantly high if one is poor. if a person is from a Black or Indigenous community, the risks are even higher.
The pandemic led to the closure of schools in about 180 countries. About 1.7 billion children and youth were out of school. The children in poor nations lost about four months of school days when compared to six weeks in high-income nations.
- Oxfam identified five steps towards a better world.
- A world more equal and measures what matters
- A world where human economies care for people
- A world without exploitation and with income security
- A world where the richest pay their fair share of tax
- A world of climate safety