It seems aeons ago since Thomas Picketty's Capital in the 21st Century drew the attention of the world to the stupefying riches snared by the top 1% of the world's people.
The situation hasn't changed a whit -- indeed, it has become worse. As the Guardian states, US billionaires have profited hugely from the pandemic, while ordinary working men and women have lost jobs, are getting no income support, and small businesses are closing down.
Many are household names. Others have fled to their luxury yachts and boltholes in faroff places, including New Zealand. Some bolster their image by creating foundations -- feel-good moves that benefit something vague like stamping out malaria, but do nothing to help ordinary citizens in this time of great crisis.
As the story relates, The already vast fortunes of America’s 643 billionaires have soared by an average of 29% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which has at the same time laid waste to tens of millions of jobs around the world. The richest of the superrich have benefited by $845bn , according to a report by a US progressive thinktank, the Institute for Policy Studies.
The report calculated that 643 billionaires in the US had racked up $845bn (£642bn) in collective wealth gains since 18 March, when lockdowns began across the US and much of the rest of the world. The collective wealth of the billionaire class increased from $2.95tn to $3.8tn. That works out to gains of $141bn a month, or $4.7bn a day.
Over the same period, more than 197,000 Americans have died from coronavirus and more than 50m Americans have lost their jobs.
Since the start of the pandemic, the wealth of Jeff Bezos has almost doubled, to over 186 billion. This is because people who are locked down, or afraid of going out, are using Amazon to deliver goods to their doors.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has seen his wealth increase by 84% or $45.9bn to $100.6bn.
Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of electric car company Tesla, has also benefited from the pandemic. His estimated fortune has risen by 274%, to $92bn.