The NGO Oxfam estimated Monday, in its annual report on inequalities, that the world’s great fortunes had so far emerged unscathed, or even strengthened, from the pandemic, renewing its call to tax wealth in order to fight “the virus of inequalities “.
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“The richest 1000 people in the world have regained their pre-pandemic level of wealth in just nine months, while it could take more than ten years for the poorest people to recover from the economic impacts,” argues the NGO in this report published on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) which is being held online – and not in Davos, Switzerland – until Friday.
Globally, billionaires have even seen their fortunes increase by $ 3,900 billion between March 18 and December 31, 2020, according to the NGO, which relies in particular on data from Forbes and Credit Suisse.
In France, billionaires – including Bernard Arnault, 3e global fortune behind Americans Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk – have “earned nearly 175 billion euros” over the same period, “exceeding their level of wealth before the crisis.” This is the third strongest increase, after the United States and China.
Faced with this surge in inequalities, Oxfam is taking up the proposals of economists Thomas Piketty and Gabriel Zucman in favor of an increase in taxes for the richest.
“The corona crisis must mark a turning point in the taxation of the richest people and companies. It offers us the opportunity to finally establish a fair tax system, to put an end to the race to the bottom and to initiate a race to the top. This can take the form of an increase in wealth tax, taxes on financial transactions and measures to eradicate tax evasion, ”the report notes.
The NGO gives the example of Argentina, which in December adopted a law instituting an extraordinary tax on large fortunes, likely to bring in some $ 3 billion, to finance the fight against the effects of COVID-19.
In France, where the wealth tax was abolished in 2018, the government ruled out increasing taxes by the end of the five-year term in 2022 to finance its costly plan to support the economy.
On the occasion of the release of this report, Oxfam France is launching a campaign on Monday to denounce inequalities. The republican motto, diverted into “freedom, inequalities, fraternity”, will be brandished in front of places symbolizing the Republic in 10 cities of France, including Paris, Lyon and Lille.