Skip to main content

Survival of the Richest: How billionaires are amassing eye-watering wealth amid crisis

Oxfam has today revealed that the richest 1% of Australians have accumulated 10 times more wealth than the bottom 50% in the past decade, as cost-of-living pressures bite and global inequality spikes.

Survival of the Richest is published on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Elites are gathering in the Swiss ski resort as extreme wealth and extreme poverty have increased simultaneously for the first time in 25 years.

Oxfam Australia’s Director of Programs, Anthea Spinks, discussed the report on ABC News Breakfast.

Inequality on the rise

Hundreds of millions are facing impossible rises in the cost of living, and millions are reeling from the pandemic which has already killed over 20 million people. These crises all have winners. The very richest have become dramatically richer and corporate profits have hit record highs, driving an explosion of inequality.

Oxfam analysis found:

  • The richest 1% of Australians have squirrelled away more than $2500 a second (or $150,000 per minute) for 10 years straight;
  • Australian billionaire wealth is 61% higher than it was before the pandemic and there are 11 more billionaires today than there were in 2020;
  • Globally, the richest 1% have made nearly twice as much money as the rest of the world put together over the past two years;
  • The fortunes of billionaires around the globe are increasing by $3.6 billion a day while more than 1.7 billion workers live in countries where inflation is now outpacing wages.

Fight inequality and tax the rich

Oxfam is calling on the Australian government to scrap the stage three tax cuts, and to instead implement a systemic and wide-ranging increase in taxation of the super-rich, including a wealth tax and a windfalls tax on corporations, which would claw back gains some companies have made on the back of crises and suffering, such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Oxfam has calculated that a wealth tax of 2% on those with wealth above $7 million, 3% with wealth above $67 million and 5% on Australian billionaires alone would raise $29.1 billion dollars annually. 

It’s time to fight inequality by taxing the rich.