Photos: reynermedia, Steve Jurvetson, Scott Lewis, all CC

Photos: reynermedia, Steve Jurvetson, Scott Lewis, all CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Amy Sage, Bristol north Socialist Party

Global media company Forbes recently published its ‘World’s Billionaires List’. When compared with Unicef’s prediction that 140 million children will fall below the poverty line as a result of the pandemic, the global inequality it reveals is beyond staggering.

While millions have been pushed into poverty and destitution, the likes of corporate bosses Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have seen their personal wealth surge over the past year – adding $5 trillion to their bulging pockets.

And it’s not only the wealth of those existing billionaires that has expanded, the list itself has grown by nearly 500.

The capitalist media like to venerate these people, describing those such as anti-union Amazon boss Bezos as ‘innovative’ or as a ‘good business man’, while ignoring the fact that delivery drivers for his own company were being forced to urinate into plastic bottles because of pressure to meet deadlines.

What Forbes doesn’t mention is the millions of workers who are exploited by these so-called ‘self-made’ billionaires in order to allow the latter to achieve their obscene levels of wealth, some of which are comparable to the wealth of entire countries!

Capitalist politicians, perhaps afraid that such stark inequality may spark anger among the working class, threatening their position, have responded with no more than token efforts to redistribute wealth.

US president Joe Biden, for instance, has proposed a global minimum tax which would end the ’30-year race to the bottom on corporate tax rates’ and help fund basic services and investment through increased tax revenues.

This proposal would be targeted at the largest and most profitable 100 companies in the world in an attempt to stop them from shifting their profits to low-tax countries, regardless of where their sales are actually made.

But even if a global tax rate were introduced, it would not be nearly enough to address the inequalities that have been highlighted and exacerbated by the coronavirus.

What we really need is these mega-corporations to be fully nationalised and brought under the democratic control of the working class, so that those who actually produce these enormous levels of wealth decide what should be done with it.

Just imagine what could be achieved for all if the wealth of the mega-rich on the Forbes’ list was in our control!