Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel prize-winning Keynesian economist, has called for the super-rich to be taxed as high as 70% to help tackle rising inequality.

Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001 and pioneered many ideas on globalization and inequality, said introducing a special 70% global income tax rate for the highest earners “clearly would make sense.”

“The people at the top could work a little less if you tax them more. But, on the other hand, our society wins by having a more egalitarian and cohesive society,” said the 79-year-old former World Bank chief economist. Oxfam’s Equals podcast.

Currently, the top income tax rate in the UK is 45% on annual earnings over £150,000. In the US, the top tax rate is 37% on earnings over $539,901.

Stiglitz said that while an increase in the top income tax would help achieve a more equal society, the introduction of wealth taxes on the fortunes accumulated by the world’s richest over many generations would have an even bigger impact.

“We should tax wealth at a higher rate, because a lot of wealth is inherited wealth, [for example] – the young Walmart, they inherited their wealth,” he said.

“One of my friends describes [this] like winning the sperm lottery: think of the right parents. I think we have to realize that most billionaires have gotten a lot of their wealth through luck.”

He described US Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposals for a 2% tax on people with assets of more than $50 million and 3% on those with more than $1 billion as “very reasonable” and said it would “really go a long way toward raising revenue that could alleviate some of our country’s problems.”

Stiglitz said the Covid-19 pandemic had worsened inequality to an “astonishing” degree, arguing that it “exposed global inequalities and exacerbated them.”

“In a period when so many people found life so difficult, losing their jobs, now dealing with rising food and oil prices, it is shocking how many wealthy individuals and corporations have left as bandits.” said.

Research published by Oxfam last week showed almost two-thirds of the new wealth accumulated since the start of the pandemic. has gone to the richest 1%. The charity found that the richest had pocketed $26bn (£21bn) in new wealth by the end of 2021. That made up 63% of total new wealth, with the rest going to the remaining 99% of people. .

Oxfam said that for the first time in a quarter of a century the rise in extreme wealth was accompanied by a rise in extreme poverty. The charity said a tax of up to 5% on the world’s billionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7 trillion a year, enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty and fund a global plan to end hunger.

Last week, more than 200 members of the super-rich elite called on governments around the world to “Tax us, the ultra-rich, now” to help address the inequality crisis.

The group of 205 millionaires and billionaires, including the Disney heiress abigail disney and Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo called on world leaders and business executives gathering in Davos for the World Economic Forum to urgently present estate taxes to help address “extreme inequality”.

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