Tuesday, 24 May, 2022

Covid-19 pandemic widening inequality

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 1st March, 2022 07:25:35 PM
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# The rich-controlled global health, technology trade booms

# Developing economies struggling to safeguard lives, livelihoods

# The rich get richest, new poor emerge

The coronavirus pandemic is widening the inequality in the economies of the world, leaving the developing nations struggling to protect the lives and livelihoods of their people.

The pandemic has also given rise to a new business model with the western quarters controlling the global trade of health products and technology in the name of connecting people.

 “Coronavirus appears as a tool of global politics to keep people at distance in a bid to consolidate the power of the rich. The so-called billionaire club is tightening their grip on the world. A boom in the business of health items and technology across the world has helped balloon their wealth,” said an economist, preferring anonymity.

He also claimed that the developing countries are the worst victims of the coronavirus pandemic as they are spending a major portion of their GDP for health management with the ultimate profit going to the western quarters.

 “There might be no return to where we had been earlier. Instead, citizens and governments must act on the urgency to create a more equal and sustainable world,” the economist suggested.

Some economists opine that it is a game designed by the large global players, who are using the coronavirus pandemic as a tool of their business.

The worst sufferers from the pandemic are commoners who are the backbone of any economy.

The developed quarters are controlling the vaccine trade alongside that of hygiene products, medical items and technology and internet sales in the name remote connectivity.

In a report, humanitarian organisation Oxfam mentioned that the coronavirus pandemic has the potential to lead to an increase in inequality in almost every country at once, the first time this has happened since records began.

Oxfam, a confederation of charitable organisations, released the report styled ‘Inequality Kills’ recently, saying the world’s 10 richest men have seen their wealth double during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has observed that inequality is contributing to the death of at least 21,000 people each day.

“Hundreds of millions of people are being forced into poverty while many of the richest – individuals and corporations – are thriving. Billionaire fortunes returned to their pre-pandemic highs in just nine months, while recovery for the world’s poorest people could take over a decade,” read the overview of the international report.

The crisis has exposed collective frailty and the inability of deeply unequal economy to work for all. Transformative policies that seemed unthinkable before the crisis have suddenly been shown to be possible.

“Some global reports, including the World Bank one on inequality, suggest that the inequality has widened during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dr Zahid Hussain, former lead economist at the World Bank’s Dhaka office.

“Actually, the inequality started widening from the start of the corona-induced recession, which had been reflected in growing joblessness or rising health risks among the people engaged in risky jobs,” he added.

The pandemic has also helped shoot up business in some economic sectors like digital technology, medical technology and pharmaceuticals across the globe, the noted economist said.

On the other hand, inequality was also found in the recovery process from the pandemic as the income level was not consistent with that of job recovery, he observed, citing some local surveys. “So, it can be said that there was inequality at the start of the recession as well as in the recovery process.”

The countries that came up with social safety net programmes to safeguard low-income people from the pandemic have been more successful in addressing the pandemic-induced inequality compared to those which could not successfully implement such policy measures.