On Monday January 25, 2021, the Davos Economic Forum, which brings together billionaires and politicians from around the world, opens to discuss the future of the world after the pandemic. The NGO Oxfam, which fights against inequalities in the world, took the opportunity to publish its latest report entitled “Covid-19: The virus of inequalities”: billionaires are always richer, the poor are millions more.
A rain of billions on French billionaires …
Unsurprisingly, the NGO Oxfam publishes a vitriolic report on the year 2020: inequalities in the world have been strongly impacted by the health crisis which is now coupled with an economic crisis. The poor in particular have been hit hard… but not the billionaires. France, moreover, signs the third global increase in terms of fortune of billionaires post crisis of March 2020, after China and the United States.
Thus, the number of billionaires in December 2020 in France was 43, two more than December 2019. And their fortune increased between February 2020 and December 2020, after a historic drop during the stock market crisis in March.
Cumulated, the fortune of 43 French billionaires exceeds $ 500 billion, up $ 175 billion compared to March 2020, during the stock market crisis. The billionaires have therefore paid off their losses while, according to the NGO, it will take several years for the French to do the same.
Bernard Arnault, boss of LVMH and the richest man in France, naturally pulls the amount up. Oxfam points out that his fortune increased by $ 44 billion between February 2020 and December 2020, an increase of 41%.
… and 3 million more poor people in France
The rise in the fortunes of France’s billionaires is heavily criticized by Oxfam, as millions have fallen into poverty. Young people, to begin with, who cannot benefit from the RSA, the government refusing to grant them, and whose situation is critical.
According to Oxfam and charities, one million people in France have fallen into poverty because of the pandemic, while 8 million people have benefited, at the end of 2020, from food aid. A sharp increase in number: in normal times, 5.5 million people benefit from this aid, a number which has been constantly increasing since the economic crisis of 2008 according to the NGO.
No place for the poor in the recovery plan
The NGO Oxfam does not fail to criticize the policy of Emmanuel Macron, turned towards companies: “ less than 1% of the recovery plan is dedicated to the fight against poverty, while billions of euros have been paid to companies without any binding compensation “.
If the government has deployed massive aid to support the income of French people prevented from working because of the pandemic, the situation weighs heavily on public debt and the government is already starting to warn that it will not last indefinitely.