News Release

Global Billionaires See $5.5 Trillion Pandemic Wealth Surge

A one-off 99 percent levy on billionaires’ wealth gains during the pandemic “could pay for everyone on Earth to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide a $20,000 cash grant to all unemployed workers,” according to new analysis released today by Oxfam, the Fight Inequality Alliance, the Institute for Policy Studies and the Patriotic Millionaires. The organizations are calling on governments to tax the ultra wealthy who profited from the pandemic crisis to help offset its costs.

CHUCK COLLINS, NJOKI NJEHU, MORRIS PEARL, via Olivia Alperstein, olivia@ips-dc.org
Pearl, a former managing director at Blackrock and chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, said: “The surge in global billionaire wealth as millions of people have lost their lives and livelihoods is a sickness that countries can no longer bear.”

Njehu, Pan Africa Coordinator of the Fight Inequality Alliance, said: “We need to tax the rich for us to stand any chance of reversing the inequality crisis we’re in.”

Collins is the director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he co-edits Inequality.org.

He just wrote the piece “Global Billionaires See $5.5 Trillion Pandemic Wealth Surge,” which states: “The world’s billionaires have seen their wealth surge by over $5.5 trillion since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, a gain of over 68 percent. The world’s 2,690 global billionaires saw their combined wealth rise from $8 trillion on March 18, 2020 to $13.5 trillion as of July 31, 2021, drawing on data from Forbes. …

“The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed over 200 million people into poverty, according to estimates by World Bank researchers.

“United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged governments to ‘consider a solidarity or wealth tax on those who have profited during the pandemic, to reduce extreme inequalities.’ The IMF and the World Bank have also called for wealth taxes to help cover the costs of COVID-19.

“Argentina has collected 223 billion pesos (around $2.4 billion) from its one-off pandemic wealth tax.”