Food prices are rising around the world and those price increases threaten to push an additional 263 million people into extreme poverty by the end of this year. Oxfam writes this in a report that will be published on Monday.
The solidarity organization denounces the growing inequality between rich and poor and asks policymakers at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos to take measures.
The report shows that companies in the pharmaceutical, energy and food industries are making record profits. At the same time, people all over the world are confronted with rising prices for those foodstuffs. In the poorest countries, people spend twice as much of their income on food, but prices are also rising in richer countries such as Belgium. And that causes social and political unrest.
That is why Oxfam calls on the policymakers present in Davos to take measures. “After more than two years of a pandemic that has resulted in an estimated 20 million deaths and severe economic impacts, policymakers in Davos must choose between acting as agents for the billionaires looting their economies, or taking ambitious action in the interest of the vast majority.”
The organization proposes, among other things, to introduce a wealth tax to redistribute extreme wealth through social measures. In Belgium, this could yield about 20.3 billion euros, according to a study by the KULeuven. In addition, they also recommend a tax on the excess profits of large companies.
“Rising wealth and increasing poverty are inextricably linked,” Oxfam said. As the rich get richer, “millions of people skip meals or knock at food banks, turn off the heating, can’t pay their bills and wonder how on earth they’re going to survive.”