Jeff Bezos is wearing space gear and a cowboy hat and is walking on a tarmac.

Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)

The world’s richest men—Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison, and Warren Buffett—have doubled their collective wealth to $870 billion since 2020. That’s a rate of $14 million an hour, with little sign of abatement, according to a new study (pdf) from the UK-founded charity organization Oxfam.

Oxfam prepared the report ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the business elites are meeting (Quartz’s own Heather Landy is on the ground writing about their dealings in our Need to Know: Davos 2024 email).

With the world keeping tabs on the conversations happening at Davos, Oxfam highlighted just how the wealth of those at the very top continues to increase at breakneck speed—so fast that the planet will likely see its first trillionaire within the next decade.

Charted: The elites get more elite

The poor are being left far, far behind

Juxtaposed against the runaway wealth of the world’s billionaires—a group that 70% of the biggest corporations count as their executives or ruling shareholders—is extreme poverty. At current rates, Oxfam predicts it will take 230 years to eradicate poverty.

As a small slice of the rich just keep getting richer, a huge portion of the poor just keep getting poorer. Oxfam said that 4.8 billion people are poorer than they were in 2019.

What about inflation?

Inflation hasn’t touched billionaires like it has others. Their wealth grew three times as fast as the rate of inflation, according to Oxfam.

Meanwhile, the wages of 791 million workers weren’t able to keep up with inflation, amounting to a $1.5 trillion loss over the last two years, Oxfam said. Put another way: It’s like those workers lost nearly a month of pay each, something those in the most desperate of circumstances simply can’t afford.


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