Food companies making big profits as inflation has surged should face windfall taxes to help cut global inequality, anti-poverty group Oxfam said Monday as the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting gets underway.
That’s one of the ideas in a report by Oxfam International, which has sought for a decade to highlight inequality at the conclave of political and business elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
The report, which aims to provoke discussions on panels featuring corporate and government leaders this week, said the world has been beset with simultaneous crises, including climate change, the surging cost of living, Russia‘s war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the world’s richest have gotten richer and corporate profits are surging.
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Over the past two years, the world’s super-rich 1% have gained nearly twice as much wealth as the remaining 99% combined, Oxfam said. Meanwhile, at least 1.7 billion workers live in countries where inflation is outpacing their wage growth, even as billionaire fortunes are rising by $2.7 billion a day.
To combat these problems, Oxfam urged higher taxes on the rich, through a combination of measures including one-time “solidarity” taxes and raising minimum rates for the wealthiest. The group noted that billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s true tax rate from 2014 to 2018 was just over 3%.
Some governments have turned to taxing fossil fuel companies’ windfall profits as Russia’s war in Ukraine sent oil and natural gas prices soaring last year, squeezing household finances around the world.
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Oxfam wants the idea to go further to