World fails to address ‘dangerous’ post-Covid inequality: Oxfam

World fails to address ‘dangerous’ post-Covid inequality: Oxfam


The world has largely failed to address a “dangerous” rise in inequality in the wake of the Covid pandemic, anti-poverty campaigners Oxfam said on Tuesday.

The charity unveiled the results of its Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI) study, which examined actions and policies by governments to tackle inequality in the first two years of Covid.

“Covid-19 has increased inequality globally, with the poorest hit hardest by both the disease and its profound economic impact,” says the report, which is produced every two years.

“However, the CRI 2022 Index clearly shows that most of the world’s governments have failed to mitigate this dangerous rise in inequality.”

The charity ranked 161 governments from 2020 to 2022 on what it called “the greatest global public health emergency in a century.”

Half of the nations surveyed cut spending on social protection and 70 percent cut education.

The pandemic has drastically reduced consumer spending due to lockdowns, which in turn has led to a drop in tax revenues.

However, 143 of the 161 nations failed to raise taxes on the rich – and 11 chose to lower their taxes.

The study added that a small group of governments bucked this trend and took “clear action” to tackle inequality.

This minority puts “the rest of the world to shame,” it said.

Oxfam also found that two-thirds of countries have not increased their minimum wage in line with gross domestic product.

And it ranked them in an index based on their actions and policies in three areas: social spending, taxes, and jobs.

Norway led the Index as the best-performing country in tackling inequality.

Germany, Australia, Belgium and then Canada followed. France was ranked 12th while the UK was 14th.

– ‘wake-up call’ –

The United Nations and activists have previously denounced the uneven distribution of vaccines from wealthier western countries to lower-income countries, particularly in Africa, which is putting lives at risk.

Oxfam delivered a scathing critique of most nations, arguing that the pandemic should have been a “wake-up call” to tackle poverty in general.

“The explosion of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting health, social and economic crises have increased poverty and inequality,” the charity’s report concluded.

“The world saw a sharp rise in poverty for the first time in decades, while the wealth of the richest and corporate profits soared.

“The pandemic should therefore have been a wake-up call for national and global leaders to introduce measures to aggressively tackle inequality, but as this report has shown, with some notable exceptions, governments have shamefully continued with ‘inequality as usual’. “

And she called on governments around the world to refrain from austerity measures that would worsen the lot of the poor.

“Governments around the world, supported by international financial institutions and global finance, must implement policies that reduce inequality and protect the incomes of the poor from recession and inflation,” it said.

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