World's 1st trillionaire less than 10 years away

The world's first trillionaire will emerge within a decade, Oxfam International predicts. 

The anti-poverty organization's latest report — released Jan. 15, the first day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland — observes that the five richest men in the world have doubled their fortunes since 2020. The world's billionaires are $3.3 trillion richer than they were four years ago, growing their wealth at triple the inflation rate. 

Their earning capability is on the up, too. Billionaires are running or are the principal shareholders of 70% of the world's largest corporations, 148 of which brought home $1.8 trillion in total net profits in the year to June 2023. 

For every $100 in profits made by 96 major corporations between July 2022 and June 2023, $82 was paid to their wealthy shareholders, according to the report. 

Although we could see a trillionaire within our lifetimes, Oxfam estimates that it would take 229 years to end global poverty. A woman working in the health and social sector would take 1,200 years to earn what the average CEO of a Fortune 100 company earns in one year — and this wealth gap is only expected to grow, according to Amitabh Behar, the organization's interim executive director. 

"We're witnessing the beginnings of a decade of division, with billions of people shouldering the economic shockwaves of pandemic, inflation and war, while billionaires' fortunes boom," Mr. Behar said in a news release. "This inequality is no accident; the billionaire class is ensuring corporations deliver more wealth to them at the expense of everyone else."

Oxfam's report calls on governments to "rapidly and radically" reduce the gap between the ultra-rich and everyone else. The organization's plan includes: 

  • "Revitalizing the state" by providing universal access to healthcare and education; 

  • "Reigning in corporate power" by capping CEO pay and advocating for better working-class wages, while breaking up monopolies and democratizing patent rules; 

  • And "reinventing business" by increasing the amount of employee-owned companies. 

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