Protesters display signs during a demonstration in New York City
Credit: Michael Nigro / Sopa Images / Lightrocket / Getty

The fortunes of the five richest men in the world have “shot up by 114 percent since 2020,” according to a January 2024 Oxfam report on global inequality, while “nearly five billion people have been made poorer.”

This most recent gross increase in wealth and income inequality builds on global trends that took hold in the early 1980s, with the decades-long increase in inequality being particularly large in the United States compared to other developed nations. Wealth inequality is typically higher than income inequality, which in turn feeds higher future income inequality. Indeed, income inequality in the U.S. continues to rise, according to the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office, utilizing data through 2020.

At the same time, and quite unsurprisingly, the largest U.S. banks made record profits in 2023, with JPMorgan Chase reporting $49.6 billion in net income for the year. In the meantime, the Federal Reserve, which world-renowned progressive economist Gerald Epstein calls the “chairman” of […]

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