Brett Wilkins Economy International

Number of Ultrarich Hits All-Time High as Someone Dies From Hunger Every 4 Seconds

"Those with the power and money to change this must come together to better respond to current crises and prevent and prepare for future ones," a coalition of charities asserted.
A child in Yemen eats a ready-to-use therapeutic food bag. [UNICEF]

By Brett Wilkins | Common Dreams

As a new analysis revealed that the global ranks of the superrich soared to a record number, a coalition of charity groups said Tuesday that hundreds of millions of people around the world are hungry—and that someone starves to death every four seconds.

“This is about the injustice of the whole of humanity.”

At least 238 international and local charities from 75 countries signed an open letter noting that “a staggering 345 million people are now experiencing acute hunger, a number that has more than doubled since 2019.”

“Despite promises from world leaders to never allow famine again in the 21st century, famine is once more imminent in Somalia,” the signers stated. “Around the world, 50 million people are on the brink of starvation in 45 countries.”

The letter—which was timed to coincide with the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York—asserts that “the global hunger crisis has been fueled by a deadly mix of poverty, social injustice, gender inequality, conflict, climate change, and economic shocks, with the lingering impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine further driving up food prices and the cost of living.”

“Those with the power and money to change this must come together to better respond to current crises and prevent and prepare for future ones,” the signatories argued.

The number of those with the most money grew to a record number last year.

According to an analysis published Tuesday by Credit Suisse, there were 218,200 ultra-high net worth (UHNW) people in the world in 2021, an increase of 46,000 from the previous year. The share of the world’s wealth held by the richest 1% of people also increased from 44% to 46% last year.

Credit Suisse said there were 62.5 million U.S. dollar millionaires on Earth, and that all the wealth in the world added up to $463.6 trillion, while attributing what one of the report’s authors called the “explosion of wealth” to soaring home and stock values.

A separate report published in July by letter signatory Oxfam revealed that profits from soaring food prices have enriched billionaires around the world by a collective $382 billion.

Meanwhile, Sumaya, a 32-year-old mother of four living in a camp for internally displaced people in Ethiopia’s Somali region, lamented her family’s dire situation in the charity groups’ letter: “No water, no food, a hopeless life.”

“Above all, my children are starving,” she said. “They are on the verge of death. Unless they get some food, I’m afraid they will die.”

Last week, Oxfam published a report underscoring how the climate emergency is exacerbating extreme hunger. The report examined 10 of the world’s worst climate hot spots, where 18 million people are on the brink of starvation.

Mohanna Ahmed Ali Eljabaly of the Yemen Family Care Association, which also signed the charities’ letter, said that “it is abysmal that with all the technology in agriculture and harvesting techniques today we are still talking about famine in the 21st century.”

“This is not about one country or one continent and hunger never only has one cause. This is about the injustice of the whole of humanity,” she continued. “It is extremely difficult to see people suffering while others sharing the same planet have plenty of food.”

“We must not wait a moment longer to focus both on providing immediate lifesaving food and longer-term support,” Elhjabaly added, “so people can take charge of their futures and provide for themselves and their families.”

9 comments

  1. A partial solution to the problem lies in educating people to stop having children….Having so many fewer mouths to feed, could only be helpful.

    1. Better off to just get them what they need instead of lecturing them on family planning. Either way, they will be victims of Finance Capital, which is working as intended.

      1. Sure, give them what they need….But don’t dismiss teaching them how not to have children.

  2. So, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Where have we heard that one before? Sayeth Shelley, from whom that saying is said to have derived, “To him that hath, more shall be given; and from him that hath not, the little that he hath shall be taken away.” It is certainly baked into the system, particularly during hard times. That we keep electing liberals and conservatives in the lands of wealth and privilege only serves to deepen the problem.

  3. “the global hunger crisis has been fueled by a deadly mix of poverty, social injustice, gender inequality, conflict, climate change, and economic shocks” In simple mathematical terms (bear with me): Let Y=hunger level, X1=poverty, X2=social injustice, X3=gender inequality, X4=conflict, X5=climate change, and X6=economic shock. Then Y is a function of (X1,X2,X3,X4,X5,X6). This allows one to use math to investigate which of the X’s are the biggest contributors to Y. It also allows one to investigate the relationships between the X’s in both causal and noncausal frameworks. I posit that what one would find is that X4=conflict is not only the biggest contributor to Y=hunger, but that it is also the biggest contributor to all the other X’s (with the exception of X3=gender inequality). Consequently, it is X4 =CONFLICT that is the elephant in the room. If the forever wars and armed meddling of the US and its imperialist EU cousins is not duly addressed, any attempts to redress the other X’s is futile. This is particularly true in relation to climate change. To expect those ultra-wealthy to address ANY of the X’s is beyond wishful thinking. One does not get to be ultra-rich and powerful by being Mother Theresa. One gets to be there by being a ruthless psychopath who will do whatever it takes to fruitlessly try to fill that void of love and connectedness.

  4. there is no shortage—these problems are driven by US imperialism sanctions; nothing else….blamed droughts are a canard. over-production exists in may nations—distribution is prevented by US policies

    1. And this is on top of the ‘normal’ hindrances to food distribution inherent in capitalism and a system that demands profit in exchange for your continued survival.

      For most of my lifetime, people die of starvation by the tens of thousands and the problem was never an overall shortage of food, but a distribution system that says that if you have all the money, then all the food flows to you.

      Biden and the Democrats have only managed the feat of making things still even worse. Thank you Wall Street!

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