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Category Archives: Poverty

Pandemic creates new billionaire every 30 hours — now a million people could fall into extreme poverty at same rate in 2022

As the cost of essential goods rises faster than it has in decades, billionaires in the food and energy sectors are increasing their fortunes by $1 billion every two days. For every new billionaire created during the pandemic — one every 30 hours — nearly a million people could be pushed into extreme poverty in 2022 at nearly the same rate, reveals a new Oxfam brief today. “Profiting from Pain” is published as the World Economic Forum — the exclusive get-together of the global elite in Davos — takes place for the first time face-to-face since COVID-19, a period during which billionaires have enjoyed a huge boost to their fortunes.  “Billionaires are arriving in Davos to celebrate an incredible surge in their fortunes. The pandemic and now the steep increases in food and energy prices have, simply put, been a bonanza for them. Meanwhile, decades of progress on extreme poverty are now in reverse and millions of people are facing impossible rises in the cost of simply staying alive,” said Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International. The brief shows that 573 people became new billionaires during the pandemic, at the rate of one every 30 hours. We expect this year that 263 million more people will crash into extreme poverty, at a rate of a million people every 33 hours. Billionaires’ wealth has risen more in the first 24 months of COVID-19 than in 23 years combined. The total wealth of the world’s billionaires is now equivalent to 13.9 percent of global GDP. This is a three-fold increase (up from 4.4 percent) in 2000.  “Billionaires’ fortunes have not increased because they are now smarter or working harder. Workers are working harder, for less pay and in worse conditions. The super-rich have rigged the system with impunity for decades and they are now reaping the benefits. They have seized a shocking amount of the world’s wealth as a result of privatization and monopolies, gutting regulation and workers’ rights while stashing their cash in tax havens — all with the complicity of governments,” said Bucher.  “Meanwhile, millions of others are skipping meals, turning off the heating, falling behind on bills and wondering what they can possibly do next to survive. Across East Africa, one person is likely dying every minute from hunger. This grotesque inequality is breaking the bonds that hold us together as humanity. It is divisive, corrosive and dangerous. This is inequality that literally kills.” Oxfam’s new research also reveals that corporations in the energy, food and pharmaceutical sectors — where monopolies are especially common — are posting record-high profits, even as wages have barely budged and workers struggle with decades-high prices amid COVID-19. The fortunes of food and energy billionaires have risen by $453 billion in the last two years, equivalent to $1 billion every two days. Five of the largest energy companies (BP, Shell, TotalEnergies, Exxon and Chevron) are together making $2,600 profit every second, and there are now 62 new food billionaires…”

Pollution and health: a progress update

The Lancet Planetary Health: “The Lancet Commission on pollution and health reported that pollution was responsible for 9 million premature deaths in 2015, making it the world’s largest environmental risk factor for disease and premature death. We have now updated this estimate using data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuriaes, and Risk Factors Study… Continue Reading

Democracy Report 2022 – Autocratization Changing Nature?

“Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) produces the largest global dataset on democracy with over 30 million data points for 202 countries from 1789 to 2021. Involving over 3,700 scholars and other country experts, V-Dem measures hundreds of different attributes of democracy. The level of democracy enjoyed by the average global citizen in 2021 is down to… Continue Reading

IRS Continues Targeting Poorest Families for More Tax Audits During FY 2022

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse Report – “The latest Internal Revenue Service (IRS) statistics covering federal income tax audits through February of 2022 reveals that the agency is continuing to target audits on the poorest wage earners. So far it has completed 132,922 audits of these low-income wage earners with less than $25,000 in total gross… Continue Reading

EPI Family Budget Map

Economic Policy Institute Family Budget Map: “EPI’s Family Budget Calculator measures the income a family needs in order to attain a modest yet adequate standard of living. The budgets estimate community-specific costs for 10 family types (one or two adults with zero to four children) in all counties and metro areas in the United States.… Continue Reading

Migration, Refugee and Asylum Data Explorer

Our World in Data: Migration, Refugee and Asylum Data Explorer “Explore the migration of people across the world.Poverty, disease, hunger, climate change, war, existential risks, and inequality: The world faces many great and terrifying problems. It is these large problems that our work at Our World in Data focuses on.Thanks to the work of thousands… Continue Reading

IRS Audits Poorest Families at Five Times the Rate for Everyone Else

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC): “A large increase in federal income tax audits targeting the poorest wage earners allowed the Internal Revenue Service to keep overall audit numbers from further declines for Americans as a whole during FY 2021. That resulted in these low-income wage earners with less than $25,000 in total gross receipts being… Continue Reading

Poverty in the United States in 2020

CRS Report – Poverty in the United States in 2020, February 10, 2022: “Calendar year 2020 saw the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and an accompanying risein the poverty rate—the percentage of the population living in poverty (economic hardship characterized by low income). Under the Census Bureau’s official poverty measure, the nation as a whole… Continue Reading

UN Environment Program: “…One-third of all food produced in the world – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes – is lost or wasted every year. Globally, if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the United States. The resources needed to produce the food… Continue Reading