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Over the last decade, the richest 1 percent captured half of all new wealth
by Oxfam, Amnesty, Fight Inequality, agencies
Jan. 2023
The richest 1 percent grabbed nearly two-thirds of all new wealth worth $42 trillion created since 2020, almost twice as much money as the bottom 99 percent of the world’s population, reveals a new Oxfam report today. During the past decade, the richest 1 percent had captured around half of all new wealth.
“Survival of the Richest” is published on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Elites are gathering in the Swiss ski resort as extreme wealth and extreme poverty have increased simultaneously for the first time in 25 years.
“While ordinary people are making daily sacrifices on essentials like food, the super-rich have outdone even their wildest dreams. Just two years in, this decade is shaping up to be the best yet for billionaires —a roaring ‘20s boom for the world’s richest,” said Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International.
“Taxing the super-rich and big corporations is the door out of today’s overlapping crises. It’s time we demolish the convenient myth that tax cuts for the richest result in their wealth somehow ‘trickling down’ to everyone else. Forty years of tax cuts for the super-rich have shown that a rising tide doesn’t lift all ships —just the superyachts.”
Billionaires have seen extraordinary increases in their wealth. During the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis years since 2020, $26 trillion (63 percent) of all new wealth was captured by the richest 1 percent, while $16 trillion (37 percent) went to the rest of the world put together.
A billionaire gained roughly $1.7 million for every $1 of new global wealth earned by a person in the bottom 90 percent. Billionaire fortunes have increased by $2.7 billion a day. This comes on top of a decade of historic gains —the number and wealth of billionaires having doubled over the last ten years.
Billionaire wealth surged in 2022 with rapidly rising food and energy profits. The report shows that 95 food and energy corporations have more than doubled their profits in 2022. They made $306 billion in windfall profits, and paid out $257 billion (84 percent) of that to rich shareholders.
The Walton dynasty, which owns half of Walmart, received $8.5 billion over the last year. Indian billionaire Gautam Adani, owner of major energy corporations, has seen this wealth soar by $42 billion (46 percent) in 2022 alone.
Excess corporate profits have driven at least half of inflation in Australia, the US and the UK. At the same time, at least 1.7 billion workers now live in countries where inflation is outpacing wages, and over 820 million people —roughly one in ten people on Earth— are going hungry.
Women and girls often eat least and last, and make up nearly 60 percent of the world’s hungry population. The World Bank says we are likely seeing the biggest increase in global inequality and poverty since WW2.
Entire countries are facing bankruptcy, with the poorest countries now spending four times more repaying debts to rich creditors than on healthcare. Three-quarters of the world’s governments are planning austerity-driven public sector spending cuts —including on healthcare and education— by $7.8 trillion over the next five years.
Oxfam is calling for a systemic and wide-ranging increase in taxation of the super-rich to claw back crisis gains driven by public money and profiteering. Decades of tax cuts for the richest and corporations have fueled inequality, with the poorest people in many countries paying higher tax rates than billionaires.
Elon Musk, one of the world’s richest men, paid a “true tax rate” of about 3 percent between 2014 and 2018. Aber Christine, a flour vendor in Uganda, makes $80 a month and pays a tax rate of 40 percent.
Worldwide, only four cents in every tax dollar now comes from taxes on wealth. Half of the world’s billionaires live in countries with no inheritance tax for direct descendants. They will pass on a $5 trillion tax-free treasure chest to their heirs, more than the GDP of Africa, which will drive a future generation of aristocratic elites.
Rich people’s income is mostly unearned, derived from returns on their assets, yet it is taxed on average at 18 percent, just over half as much as the average top tax rate on wages and salaries.
The report shows that taxes on the wealthiest used to be much higher. Over the last forty years, governments across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas have slashed the income tax rates on the richest. At the same time, they have upped taxes on goods and services, which fall disproportionately on the poorest people and exacerbate gender inequality. In the years after WW2, the top US federal income tax rate remained above 90 percent and averaged 81 percent between 1944 and 1981.
Similar levels of tax in other rich countries existed during some of the most successful years of their economic development and played a key role in expanding access to public services like education and healthcare.
“Taxing the super-rich is the strategic precondition to reducing inequality and resuscitating democracy. We need to do this for innovation. For stronger public services. For happier and healthier societies. And to tackle the climate crisis, by investing in the solutions that counter the insane emissions of the very richest,” said Bucher.
According to new analysis by the Fight Inequality Alliance, Institute for Policy Studies, Oxfam and the Patriotic Millionaires, an annual wealth tax of up to 5 percent on the world’s multi-millionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7 trillion a year, enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty, fully fund the shortfalls on existing humanitarian appeals, deliver a 10-year plan to end hunger, support poorer countries being ravaged by climate impacts, and deliver universal healthcare and social protection for everyone living in low- and lower middle-income countries.
Oxfam is calling on governments to:
Introduce one-off solidarity wealth taxes and windfall taxes to end crisis profiteering. Permanently increase taxes on the richest 1 percent, for example to at least 60 percent of their income from labor and capital, with higher rates for multi-millionaires and billionaires. Governments must especially raise taxes on capital gains, which are subject to lower tax rates than other forms of income.
Tax the wealth of the richest 1 percent at rates high enough to significantly reduce the numbers and wealth of the richest people, and redistribute these resources. This includes implementing inheritance, property and land taxes, as well as net wealth taxes.
Jan. 2023
Davos World Economic Forum: “The stakes are too high for more empty gestures”, says Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnes Callamard:
“In the last few years, it’s as if Pandora’s box has been pried open unleashing untold crises on the world. We find ourselves facing challenges that often overlap and intertwine – the climate crisis; a global pandemic; armed conflicts; the latest of the industrial revolutions – tech – ripe for exploitation; widespread food insecurity; a global economy delivering unimaginable wealth to a bare few while low wages or unemployment leave millions on their knees.
“Regrettably, many of the globally staged gatherings set up to solve these problems have merely become forums for virtual signalling with few or no concrete outcomes.
“In order to ensure this year’s event in Davos isn’t relegated to the same fate, the highly influential elites attending must reflect on why they are there. Their focus should be to push forward tangible solutions that we already know work, rather than opting to protect the existing global economic system at any cost.
Side events and panels should be filled with conversations on new taxes for fossil fuel companies, on incentivising human rights consistent green energy provision.
They should be addressing endemic corruption, ending tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, tackling inequalities – including racism and sexism – at their very root, starting with their own board rooms and cabinet offices. The stakes are too high for more empty gestures.”
Jan. 2023
Young climate activists demand immediate stop to opening any new oil, gas, or coal extraction sites. (AP, agencies)
To Fossil Fuel CEOs:
This Cease and Desist Notice is to demand that you immediately stop opening any new oil, gas, or coal extraction sites, and stop blocking the clean energy transition we all so urgently need.
We know that Big Oil:
KNEW for decades that fossil fuels cause catastrophic climate change. MISLED the public about climate science and risks. DECEIVED politicians with disinformation sowing doubt and causing delay.
You must end these activities as they are in direct violation of our human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, your duties of care, as well as the rights of Indigenous people.
If you fail to act immediately, be advised that citizens around the world will consider taking any and all legal action to hold you accountable. And we will keep protesting in the streets in huge numbers.
Vanessa Nakate from Uganda, Greta Thunberg from Sweden, Helena Gualinga from Ecuador, Luisa Neubauer from Germany
* Avaaz Cease and Desist Notice:
The youth climate campaigners presented the Cease and Desist Notice signed by over 930,000 people from around the world at the World Economic Forum taking place in Davos.
Greta Thunberg said it was “completely ridiculous” that Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), will preside over the next round of global climate talks (Cop28) in Dubai in November.
She said that lobbyists have been influencing these conferences “since, basically, forever”... “This just puts a very clear face to it,” she added. “It’s completely ridiculous.”
Luisa Neubauer, a German climate activist, also called the move “ridiculous”, but not a new development, as over 600 lobbyists had flocked to the last Cop meeting in Egypt.
Helena Gualinga, from an Indigenous community in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, said UAE’s move sent the message that the climate issue was not being taken seriously.
“I just think it sends a message of where we’re headed right now, if we’re putting the heads of fossil fuel companies to lead climate negotiations,” Gualinga said.
In November, ADNOC’s board decided to bring forward its goal to expand its oil production to 5m barrels a day to 2027 from 2030 to meet rising global energy demand.
Thunberg demanded fossil fuel bosses immediately stop opening any new fossil fuel extraction sites. The people who are mostly fueling the destruction of the planet, who are at the very core of the climate crisis, investing in fossil fuels, are in Davos, Thunberg said.
“And yet somehow these are the people that we seem to rely on solving our problems, where they have proven time and time again, that they are not prioritising that,” she said. “They are prioritising self greed, corporate greed and short term economic profits above people and above the planet.”
Thunberg said it was “absurd” to be listening to these people, rather than to those on the frontline in the climate crisis.
Vanessa Nakate said people in parts of the world most affected by climate change are “clinging to their lives and just trying to make it for another day, to make it for another week”.
Nakate added that current levels of warming, which have reached up to 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 F), means it is “already a living hell for many communities across the African continent, across the Global South” who are facing extreme drought, heat and flooding.
In the areas that are most affected, such as the Horn of Africa, millions of children are suffering from severe, acute malnutrition.
The young climate activists were joined by Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency. In 2021, the IEA said that exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields had to stop that year, if the world was to have any chance of meeting the goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Birol said he was “very happy” that the activists were pushing the climate agenda forward.

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In 2023, 339 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance
by UN News, Office of Humanitarian Affairs
Dec. 2022
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the launch of the Global Humanitarian Overview 2023:
"2022 has been a year of extremes. Conflict brought misery to millions of people. The war in Ukraine accelerated the global food and energy crises. Diseases from cholera to COVID-19 claimed lives and disrupted economies. And the climate crisis is causing deadly drought and unprecedented floods.
Global hunger reached record levels. As we end the year, famine looms in five separate places around the world. And in every crisis, women and girls are last to eat and first to suffer poverty and hunger.
The United Nations and our humanitarian partners have helped to support and protect 157 million people around the world. We listened to people and communities and worked to tailor our programmes to meet their needs. We provided $2 billion in cash assistance to people in crisis situations to save lives.
Humanitarian demands are projected to continue increasing next year. In 2023, we forecast some 339 million people will need humanitarian aid and protection — an increase of 65 million since the beginning of 2022.
The 2023 Global Humanitarian Overview calls for $51.5 billion to bring life-saving support to 230 million of the most vulnerable people. Funding these lifesaving operations is a source of hope for millions of people in desperate need".
“Humanitarian needs are shockingly high, as this year’s extreme events are spilling into 2023,” said the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths.
“Lethal droughts and floods are wreaking havoc in communities from Pakistan to the Horn of Africa. The war in Ukraine has turned a part of Europe into a battlefield. More than 100 million people are now displaced worldwide. And all of this on top of the devastation left by the pandemic among the world’s poorest.
“For people on the brink, this appeal is a lifeline. For the international community, it is a strategy to make good on the pledge to leave no one behind.”
The 2023 Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO), launched today by the UN in collaboration with nongovernmental organizations and other humanitarian partners, paints a stark picture.
At least 222 million people in 53 countries will face acute food insecurity by the end of 2022. Forty-five million people in 37 countries risk starvation.
The response plans in the GHO detail how aid agencies working together around specific types of aid – including shelter, food, maternal health, child nutrition and protection – can save and support the lives of a combined 230 million people worldwide.
This year, humanitarian organizations have delivered assistance to stave off the most urgent needs of 157 million people. This includes food assistance for 127 million people; sufficient safe water for nearly 26 million people; livelihood assistance for 24 million people; psychosocial support for 13 million children and caregivers; maternal health consultations for 5.2 million mothers; and health-care services for 5.8 million refugees and asylum-seekers.
Humanitarians have painstakingly negotiated access to communities in need to deliver water and food rations. National and local organizations are members of 80 per cent of all Humanitarian Country Teams, providing essential guidance and leadership. And from Afghanistan to the Central African Republic, local organizations are engaged in humanitarian planning and programming.
The GHO is a comprehensive and evidence-based assessment of global humanitarian needs. It provides a snapshot of current and future trends in humanitarian action for large-scale resource mobilization efforts.
The GHO 2023 includes country-specific Humanitarian Response Plans for Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen.
The GHO includes Flash Appeals and other plans for Kenya, Lebanon, Madagascar and Pakistan.
Regional inter-agency plans for neighbouring countries are also included for the crises in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, Rohingya, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela.
Joyce Msuya, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator media briefing:
"The idea that we have entered an age of permanent crisis, that humanity is lurching from one global disaster to another without drawing breath, is rapidly gaining ground.
Indeed, the word “perma-crisis” was named 2022’s English word of the year. And it’s not hard to see why. A global pandemic, an escalating climate crisis, a war in Europe, a global cost of living crisis, extreme levels of poverty.
We are in the middle of the largest global food crisis in modern history, a crisis driven by conflict, climactic shock and the looming threat of global recession. As I speak, close to 1 million people are in famine-like conditions.
More people have been forced from their homes than at any time since the end of the Second World War. Today’s wars are more intense and longer lasting than ever. The war in Syria will have soon dragged on for 12 years. The conflict in Yemen nine.
Women and children are bearing the brunt of these forever wars as hospitals, homes and schools are turned into death traps by warring sides who violate the rules of war every single day.
Never have so many people needed aid just to survive – six times more than a decade ago. Given these giant, interconnected crises, it is unsurprising that the word “perma-crisis” is increasingly being used to describe the times in which we live.
It is also unsurprising that the world’s humanitarian system is now at breaking point, for every year, as needs rise to record levels, the funding gap grows.
It is a deep sadness that, as of today, our 2022 appeal is less than half funded. And yet, despite this huge shortfall, we’ve provided assistance to 157 million people.
Thanks to the grit and determination of our NGO partners, frontline organizations and local communities, we’ve reached displaced people in 46 countries. And we’ve provided emergency healthcare to more than 40 million people in the first half of the year alone.
This is what we can do with less than half of what we need. This is what we can do despite the threat to aid workers, and despite the access challenges thrown up by war, violence and political chaos.
But with proper funding, we could have more than doubled our impact, reaching millions more men, women and children whose lives have been devastated by disaster.
Today, we are appealing for $51.5 billion to help 230 million people in 68 countries. This is a big figure - more than we’ve ever asked for. But unless we secure this finance, the scale of human suffering will continue to rocket. Needs will continue to rise. The world’s mega-crises will continue to outpace our ability to respond.
And the hopes of millions of people who simply want a chance to survive and adapt, a chance to see their communities transformed in response to disaster, will continue to be dashed.
But it’s not just about how much money we raise – it’s also about what we do with this money. And that’s where I’m filled with hope.
Over the past decade or so, the humanitarian system has undergone profound change. This transformation is now bearing real fruit. We’re now better placed than ever to prevent and alleviate human suffering, and to protect life and health in a way that grants people the safety and dignity they need to thrive.
Firstly, the humanitarian system has grown more adept at anticipating crisis and risk, learning from communities themselves even as we help them better prepare for and respond to disaster before it strikes. This hasn’t just protected lives – it has also reduced the financial cost of humanitarian action.
Secondly, we’re finding innovative ways to build longer term resilience even while we meet immediate, lifesaving needs. Thirdly, international aid now strengthens rather than replaces national and local organizations. Eighty per cent of our humanitarian response teams are now guided by leaders from national and local organizations.
Alongside our ability to deliver funds to local organizations in the world’s most fragile places, this means that our humanitarian response is now informed by the real needs of people on the frontlines of the world’s disasters.
These changes to the way the humanitarian system operates mean that we’re no longer just delivering aid – we’re working to end the need for it. That’s why the $51.5 billion we’re asking for today isn’t just a band-aid for the world’s growing crises – it’s the most important investment we can make in humanity.
This is our SOS call for help. Help for the millions of men, women and children whose lives have been shattered by hunger, conflict, disease, and poverty.
Help which will allow committed frontline workers to provide millions with food, education, vaccines, protection, and shelter.
Help which can only come from countries, corporates and individuals who are fortunate enough to be living in peace, safety and prosperity.
If this SOS is heard, then we will have the power not just to alleviate suffering in the short-term but to ensure millions of the world’s most vulnerable people can secure the right to a life of dignity, away from a world of permanent crisis. I can think of no greater investment".
* UN WebTV: Lauch of 2023 Global Humanitarian Overview:

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