The five biggest fortunes on the planet have seen their assets double since 2020, denounced the NGO Oxfam on Monday January 15, before the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. “We cannot continue with these obscene levels of inequality,” said the interim director of Oxfam International, Amitabh Behar, in an interview with Agence France-Presse, adding that “this capitalism is at the service of the ultra-rich.” .

The fortune of the five richest men in the world increased between 2020 and 2023 from $405 billion to $869 billion, and that of billionaires increased by $3.3 trillion, deplores the NGO in a report, citing in particular Amazon founder Jeff Bezos among the richest men on the planet.

The world could have its first trillionaire within a decade

Buoyed by a surge in stock prices, the ultra-rich see their financial weight grow year after year thanks to their participation in the capital of multinationals. Meanwhile, the combined wealth and income of five billion people on Earth has declined, Oxfam compares.

The wealth of the richest is increasing at such a rate that the first human at the head of a fortune of 1,000 billion dollars should appear within ten years, if the trend continues.

“Large companies widen inequalities”

“By putting pressure on workers with wages that increase less quickly than inflation, by avoiding taxes, by privatizing the State and by participating greatly in global warming, big companies are widening inequalities,” writes the international organization in its report entitled Multinationals and multiple inequalities.

The World Economic Forum meeting in Davos will see more than 800 business leaders and sixty heads of state and government mingle throughout the week for conferences and informal meetings. It is precisely this mix between public and private interests that the NGO criticizes: “Companies and their rich owners also maintain inequalities by waging a sustained and very effective tax war,” she insists.

A tax on the wealth of multimillionaires and billionaires

“Across the world, members of the private sector have consistently called for lower rates, more loopholes, less transparency and other measures to allow businesses to contribute as little as possible to the coffers. the State”, she continues, citing the “hordes of lobbyists” and the “wonderful benefits” that result from them.

Since 1980, corporate tax has been more than halved within OECD member countries, falling to 23.1% in 2022, details the NGO.

In addition to dismantling private monopolies and capping CEO pay, Oxfam is calling for a wealth tax on multimillionaires and billionaires, which could raise up to $1.8 trillion a year.