Home News Food and energy billionaires’ assets increase $ 453 billion in two years

Food and energy billionaires’ assets increase $ 453 billion in two years

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As the political and business elite meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Oxfam, the development NGO, has announced that rising global food prices have helped 62 people become billionaires in the industry. food in just 24 months.

Twelve members of the Cargill family, which owns one of the largest food companies in the world, are now billionaires. Before the pandemic, only eight of them were billionaires. The Cargill family, along with three other companies, control 70% of the global agricultural market.

It is estimated that more than 263 million people will live in acute poverty due to food prices, which have risen by more than 30% on average over the past year. Thus, the number of people living on less than $ 1.90 a day would reach 860 million by the end of the year, a number equivalent to the populations of Great Britain, France, Germany and Spain combined.

“It is morally unforgivable for the people of East Africa to starve to death, while the fortunes of the extremely rich are fueled by the exponential rise in food and energy prices,” said Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam’s chief executive. GB.

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“At a time when hundreds of millions of people are facing extreme poverty, there can be no excuse for governments not to address the issue of huge profits and wealth so as to ensure that no one is left behind,” he said. he.

Oxfam has called on world leaders in Davos to immediately introduce wealth taxes for billionaires to combat “the biggest increase in extreme poverty in 20 years.”

The development charity also said that governments should follow Argentina’s example and introduce a “single solidarity tax on wealth from the pandemic.” Argentina’s combined tax collection amounted to 223 billion pesos (1.5 billion pounds) last year.

Oxfam has also called for the introduction of a permanent wealth tax to “curb extreme wealth and monopoly power”, given that an annual wealth tax that starts at 2% for millionaires and increases to 5% for billionaires it could generate $ 2.5 billion a year.

According to Oxfam, that amount would be enough “to lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty, to produce enough vaccines and to provide universal health care and social protection to all those living in low- and middle-income countries.”

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A third demand is to end the “profit from the crisis” by introducing a temporary temporary tax targeting all large companies, not just oil and gas companies, as proposed by the British Labor Party.

Oxfam said such a tax on “only 32 highly profitable multinational companies could generate $ 104 billion in revenue by 2020”.

“The introduction of wealth taxes, for example, would raise huge sums of money that could help vulnerable groups survive this crisis and build a better future,” Sriskandarajah said.

A total of 573 people became billionaires during the pandemic. According to Oxfam, the coronavirus crisis was “the best time in documented history for the billionaire class.”

The total wealth of billionaires amounts to $ 12.7 billion, according to the Forbes magazine ranking, representing the equivalent of 13.9% of global GDP and a threefold increase over 2000. The fortunes of the richest 20 billionaires are more greater than the total GDP of sub-Saharan Africa.

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