Forbes reported that despite the pandemic, it was a record-setting year for the world’s wealthiest—with a $5 trillion surge in wealth and an unprecedented number of new billionaires. The number of billionaires on its 35th annual list of the world’s wealthiest exploded to 2,755—660 more than a year ago. Altogether they are worth $13.1 trillion, up from $8 trillion on the 2020 list. And that really saddened Jane Chung.

A few days ago, Chung published a Twitter thread, taking stabs at the individuals featured in the World’s Billionaires List as well as society which allows the rich to get richer and makes the poor even poorer. And she has a point. Extreme poverty rates are on the rise for the first time in 20 years. Continue scrolling and read what Chung had to say about this.

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Image credits: Jane24477

Image credits: Jane24477

“It’s really difficult to imagine wealth of that magnitude,” Chung told Global Citizen. The Big Tech accountability advocate at the nonprofit Public Citizen said that after a certain point, another zero is just another zero, and adding more zeros doesn’t really register in our heads.

“I think putting it in terms of the real issues we’re facing in the world, most of them notably manmade and caused by capitalism, shows how they can be totally eradicated and solved with not even all of the wealth of the people involved in Big Tech,” Chung explained.

Image credits: Jane24477

Image credits: Jane24477

She said that her analysis surprised a lot of people. “The most common reaction was, ‘Yeah, I knew they were rich but I never thought about it in terms of how they could actually positively impact society, if they tried or had the desire to.”

Even though the thread was inspired by Chung’s anger and hopelessness at the state of inequality, its overall reception has transformed her negative emotions into positive ones.

“I think the responses I’ve gotten are inspiring a lot of hope in me,” Chung said. “Whether they’re folks who have been organizing toward abolition and other causes for a really long time, or folks who are just realizing that a few people hold all of this wealth in our society, I think a lot of people are really fired up about this, and that’s exciting for me. I hope that we can channel it for the better.”

Image credits: Jane24477

Image credits: Jane24477

Image credits: Jane24477

Image credits: Jane24477

Before the pandemic, Oxfam reported that 2,153 billionaires owned more wealth than the poorest 4.6 billion people worldwide. This level of inequality not only distorts economies by investing inordinate power in the hands of a small group of people, but also exacerbates the conditions of poverty, the United Nations said.

Inequality has been on the rise across the globe for several decades. Yes, some countries have reduced the numbers of people living in extreme poverty, but economic gaps have continued to grow as the very richest amass unprecedented levels of wealth.

Here’s what people think of the viral thread

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