COVID: Rich Profit, Poor Suffer
by Renwick Rose
WHILE IT is true that the COVID pandemic is affecting the global economy badly, more and more facts are being revealed that it is reinforcing the gross inequality in the world between rich and poor.
A recent report (October 7) by the Swiss Bank USB shows that the world’s super-rich billionaires have seen their profits rise by 27.5 per cent during the pandemic, climbing to US$10.2 trillion between April and July this year. At their previous peak in 2017 the corresponding figure was US$8.9 trillion. There is currently a record number of billionaires globally 0f 2189 persons, up from 2158 in 2017. The USB report says that billionaires have done “extremely well” in the COVID crisis.
By contrast the pandemic has increased the poverty and misery of the world’s poor and increased the glaring inequality in the world. A World Bank report says that poverty is set to rise this year for the first time in over two decades, with coronavirus expected to push a further 115 million people into that category, a figure which could rise to 150 million by next year. Almost 10 per cent of the world’s population is likely to be affected by extreme poverty says the Report. Rich Monopolizing Vaccines A further example of growing inequality and injustice in the world affected by COVID, has been given by the British non-governmental organisation, OXFAM.
Just last month it revealed that a small group of wealthy nations, representing just 13 per cent of the world’s population, have already cornered more than half of the promised doses of leading candidates for COVID-19 vaccines.
The Report shows that giant pharmaceutical corporations and vaccine producers have already made deals with a handful of nations for supply of the vaccines when available. This is in spite of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ funds being given to these corporations to fund research and production of the vaccines.
Supply deals have already been concluded for 5.303 billion doses of the vaccine of which more than half have been bought by developed countries including the USA, UK, European Union, Japan, Australia and Switzerland.
Even in a global crisis it is the poor, those most in need, who will suffer most.