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Online magazine Infosperber: This is how much the super-rich benefited from the corona pandemic.

What follows is an English translation of Martina Frei’s article in Infosperber, published may 21, 2024.

Workers’ incomes remained at the same low, while billionaires incomes increased by over 70 percent. Society is in a spiral of decline. The concentration of power of the wrong-doing elite contributes to this. Management professor Michaéla Schippers from the Erasmus University Rotterdam comes to this conclusion. Together with the infectiologist and epidemiologist John Ioannidis from Stanford University and Matthias Luijks from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Groningen, she points out the enormous consequences of growing social inequality in an article in “Frontiers in Sociology”. “In contemporary society, an elite has abundant access to resources while the masses increasingly struggle to survive.”

Schippers reminds us that shortly before the fall of the Roman Empire the middle class ceased to exist. The gap between rich and poor had widened: rich Romans owned properties that were estimated to be worth around 200,000 times as much as the little that was – perhaps – still left for the vast majority of landless people. The professor of behavior and management shows the parallels with the current situation. In addition to many other sources, she builds on evaluations from “inequality.org”.

Corona pandemic made rich people even richer

The Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness / inequality.org shows how wide the gap between rich and poor has widened since the pandemic: from March 2020 to October 2021, the assets of US billionaires rose by over 70 percent, from $2,947 billion to $5,019 billion. The wealthiest five – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, and Elon Musk – more than doubled their wealth in this short period of time.

The average US worker, on the other hand, received an increase of 0.19 percent over the same period and was able to increase his income marginally: from 30,416 to 30,474 US dollars.

Increase in wealth of over 700 billionaires in the USA during the corona pandemic (blue bars). From March 18, 2020 to October 15, 2021, the then five richest among them increased their wealth by a combined 123 percent. These were Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Elon Musk. © Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness / inequality.org

Estimated wealth of the ten richest US billionaires in March 2020 (orange) and March 2024 (blue). © Forbes / inequality.org

Continue to read the full article in German at Infosperber

About Infosperber

Since 2011, Infosperber is an independent journalistic online newspaper. Its aim is to assess journalistic contributions on political, economic and social relevance only. Their motto is: Infosperber sees what others overlook.