How the pandemic has made scroungers like Bezos and Musk even richer

How the pandemic has made scroungers like Bezos and Musk even richer

Mario Lettieri and Paolo Raimondi's analysis of pandemics and rich people, published in ItaliaOggi

The pandemic has impoverished many hundreds of millions of people but, at the same time, has done a lot to enrich a few hundred already super rich "scroungers".

According to the study "Riding the storm" recently published by the Swiss bank UBS together with Price Waterhouse Coopers, the "accounting consultant" of large multinationals, the wealth of 2,189 richest people in the world has increased from 8 trillion dollars from the beginning of April to 10,200 billion in July. In less than four months, and in the midst of the greatest economic, social and health upheaval in human history if you don't count the two world wars, their wealth has grown by over a quarter! Stunning and hallucinating.

It should be noted that the report highlighted that the aforementioned wealth was at the end of 2017 of 8,900 billion dollars and had undergone a significant reduction in 2019 and especially in the first months of 2020. Then the "carousel" started again in a big way following the flood of liquidity by central banks and governments.

Among these multi-billionaires, those in the new technology sectors stand out, with an average increase of 42.5%, healthcare, with an increase of 50.3%, information technology and, of course, online sales.

Geographically, in China their wealth increased by 1,146%, in France by 439% and in the US by 170%.

In this regard, the international NGO Oxfam estimates that the 2,000 mega billionaires in the world hold 60 of all global wealth. A wealth greater than that of the 4 billion and 560 million people, equal to more than half of the world population. According to the NGO, the 32 largest multinationals on the planet in 2020 will increase profits by as much as 109 billion dollars.

According to the American Institute for Policy Studies, from March to October 2020, the wealth of 644 US "scroungers" increased by 931 billion dollars. For example, the personal fortune of Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, rose to $ 193 billion, an increase of 70% in seven months, while that of Elon Musk, the master of Tesla's technology empire and SpaceX, has exceeded 91 billion with an increase of about 273%!

It is simultaneously relevant, however, to note that the shares of the four largest American banks, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, would be 20-50% below the levels of 12 months ago. This reveals a serious problem in the stability of the banking system, despite the fact that the most important stock exchanges have been, very artificially, kept at the highest levels of capitalization.

The IMF is also concerned. In his latest report "The world economic outlook" he acknowledges that Covid "has caused an unprecedented global economic crisis" and that in 2020 there will be a phenomenal global economic contraction. While appreciating the fact that central banks have injected $ 7.5 trillion of liquidity, plus $ 12 trillion in fiscal stimuli and various types of aid from all governments, the IMF fears the trend of the gigantic "debt bubble" , both the sovereign of the States and the so-called corporate debt of companies.

Obviously, the weakest and most vulnerable are the ones to suffer: the tens of millions of people who have lost their jobs and the numerous SMEs at risk of bankruptcy in the so-called advanced countries. Not to mention the many poor countries and emerging economies facing collapse and bankruptcy.

The increase in the wealth of a few inevitably collides with the exponential growth of poverty in the world. The World Bank estimates that, for the first time in twenty years, there is a significant increase in extreme poverty in 2020, which could affect 9% of the world's population. As is well known, extreme poverty is defined when an individual lives on less than $ 1.90 a day.

The UN World Food Program (WFP), which this year won the Nobel Peace Prize, fears the risk of "famine of biblical proportions". According to the aforementioned organization, 7 million people have died of starvation this year and, if Covid is not exited, the number could rise by even 5 times. And it should come as no surprise when he says that 60% of the truly hungry people are in areas of military conflict. Let us remember that 500 million people live in destabilized areas ranging from the Sahel to the Middle East.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also warned of the "threat of hunger", particularly in many areas of Africa, where lockdowns have had very negative effects for producers, distributors and consumers. On the other hand, around 80% of food in Africa is locally produced. A positive condition, but only in times of peace and stability. Otherwise, food insecurity, combined with other forms of speculation, drives prices up. In many countries of the Sub Sahara in recent months there has been an inflation of about 15% in the prices of basic foodstuffs.

The data, unfortunately, confirm the dramatic inequalities between continents, countries and peoples. Above all, they question the rulers of the so-called advanced countries on the need and urgency of a necessary global policy that will lead to better convictions of life and peace in all parts of the world.


This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/economia/pandemia-ricchi-poveri-disuguaglianza/ on Sun, 08 Nov 2020 06:54:05 +0000.