Oxfam, the anti-poverty group, revealed in a report that the combined fortunes of the world’s five wealthiest individuals have more than doubled to $869 billion since 2020.
This surge in billionaire wealth has occurred concurrently with five billion people experiencing increased poverty.
Billionaires at Helm of 7 Out of 10 Largest Companies:
The report found that billionaires are now running or serving as the main shareholders of 7 out of 10 of the world’s biggest companies.
As business elites gather for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Oxfam calls for governments to address corporate power by breaking up monopolies, imposing taxes on excess profit and wealth, and exploring alternatives to shareholder control.
Oxfam urged governments to rein in corporate power and address the growing wealth gap. Recommendations include:
- Breaking up monopolies.
- Implementing taxes on excess profits and wealth.
- Promoting alternative ownership structures such as employee ownership.
Corporate Profit Surge Amid Worker Challenges:
The report highlighted that 148 top corporations made $1.8 trillion in profits, experiencing a 52% increase compared to the three-year average.
While corporations distributed significant payouts to shareholders, millions of workers faced a cost-of-living crisis, with inflation leading to real wage cuts.
Stakeholder Capitalism Aspirations Unfulfilled:
The findings come as the Davos events were initially launched to advocate for “stakeholder capitalism,” defined as corporations contributing to human and societal aspirations.
Oxfam’s report indicates that the current system of shareholder capitalism is driving inequality rather than fulfilling broader social objectives.