When the water is in the river, the boat goes up for everyone – this proverb is often used to justify neoliberal economics. The meaning is that when wealth is created in society, even if it trickles slowly, its benefits reach everyone. To support this justification, these figures are repeatedly quoted to show how poverty has declined worldwide over the past three decades (according to the World Bank formula). India, too, is said to have raised 270 million people above the poverty line when the country experienced high economic growth during the UPA regime. In making such arguments, it was often left out of discussion that how much economic inequality increased in different societies during this period? However, the numbers that are emerging now (or continuously) also question the rationale of this economy as ‘water in the river’.
The British NGO Oxfam has said in its latest report that 63 percent of the wealth generated in the world after the Corona epidemic ended up in the pockets of the richest percent of the population. This amount is equivalent to 26 trillion dollars. But that’s not all. The organization’s officials have said: ‘The current economic reality is an affront to human values. For the first time in 25 years, extreme poverty is on the rise and nearly a billion people are at risk of starvation. On the other hand, billionaires get gifts every day. That is, now instead of everyone’s boat being lifted, a large number of people’s boat is sinking. But this issue is missing from the discussion in the global discourse. Instead, identities such as religion, race, gender, and caste are held at the center of politics in various countries, so that the discussion does not focus on this fundamental question. Oxfam has suggested that governments seek an immediate solution by imposing (or raising) property and inheritance taxes. But he will be listened to, chances are slim at the moment.