COVID-19: That Was A Damn Good Year …

… for the Billionaires in West and East who massively gained from the anti-democratic Lockdown policy


By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 5 January 2021,




2020 was a damn good year. Not for you and not for me. But for the richest of the rich, it was a bonanza. This is the conclusion from the latest results of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index – a ranking of the world's richest people issued by the news agency of Michael Bloomberg (a billionaire himself). [1]


In an article published a few days ago, Bloomberg summarized the development of last year as follows: “The world’s 500 richest people added $1.8 trillion to their combined net worth this year and are now worth $7.6 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Equivalent to a 31% increase, it’s the biggest annual gain in the eight-year history of the index and a $3 trillion jump from the market’s nadir in March. The gains were disproportionately at the top, where five individuals now hold fortunes in excess of $100 billion and another 20 are worth at least $50 billion.


Among the biggest profiteers of the current crisis are Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Elon Musk (Tesla), Eric Yuan (Zoom), John Foley (Peloton, an American exercise equipment and media company), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Steve Ballmer (former CEO of Microsoft) Zhong Shanshan (China’s richest man and owner of the Chinese pharma giant Wantai), Huang Zheng (another Chinese billionaire businessman and chairman of e-commerce company Pinduoduo), and Ceng Yuqun (Chinese chairman of Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., the largest supplier of electric vehicle batteries in the world. He is also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, an important institution of China’s Stalinist-capitalist dictatorship). Unsurprisingly, Bill Gates did also pretty well. (See also Table 1 in the Appendix below)


At the same time, as well known, 2020 was a devastating year for the workers and popular masses around the globe, as we already warned since the beginning of the COVID crisis. [2] Most of the global labor force – about 3.5 billion people – suffered dramatic losses in wages. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), “global loss in labour income during the first three quarters of 2020 amounts to US$3.5 trillion“ which amounts to “a global decline of 10.7 per cent” (compared with the corresponding period in 2019). We can take it for granted that these losses will be even higher when calculations for the whole year will be published. [3]


Pay attention to these figures: the world’s 500 richest people increased their wealth by $1.8 trillion which is more than half (!) of the combined losses in income of 3.5 billion workers and poor peasants! (See also Table 2 in the Appendix below)


In short, 2020 has been a year of gigantic redistribution of wealth. While billions of workers and poor around the globe suffered dramatic losses, the richest of the rich, the elite among the elite, accumulated an unprecedented amount of additional profits in their pockets. In other words, a lot of money changed from the pockets of many to the pockets of very few.


Such a massive shift of income from the working class and the popular masses towards monopoly capital is not accidently. As the RCIT has warned since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the ruling elite around the globe is pursuing a counterrevolutionary offensive under the cover of the pandemic. It imposes a series of draconic lockdowns, mass curfews, anti-democratic restrictions on meetings and social gatherings, etc. resulting in the isolation and atomization of the people. This is what we have characterized as the COVID-19 Counterrevolution. Under such circumstances it has been very difficult for the working class and the oppressed to organize resistance against these attacks. [4]


At the same time, such bourgeois Lockdown policy – combined with a massive push to force people getting hastily developed vaccine – serves the interests of the billionaires as the above-mentioned Bloomberg report demonstrates. It is therefore not surprising that these monopoly capitalists have been strong supporter of the anti-democratic Lockdown policy from the very first hour. Bill Gates himself – as we reported in our study on the preparation of the ruling class for the COVID-19 crisis – has been a key force in this policy and even participated in the notorious “war game” called Event 201, organized by World Bank and WHO in autumn 2019. [5] Given the figures presented above, one can say that the monopoly capitalists had 1.8 trillion reasons to support the reactionary Lockdown policy!


The late David Rockefeller – the head of the well-known billionaire dynasty – is known to have said once: “We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis for the next world order.” [6] This quote (from the year 1994) reflects the approach of strategic thinkers of the top layers of the ruling class. These are usually smart people who think ahead and plan how to advance their interests. The Lockdown policy (including the permanent enforced social isolation of people) and the expansion of the police and surveillance state did not “happen”, as a kind of spontaneously improvised ad-hoc policy of governments reacting to an unforeseen crisis. No, the response to the outbreak of the pandemic has been rather advocated and prepared long before by various circles of the monopoly bourgeoisie and, when it took place, it was unanimously implemented by the ruling elite around the globe. Hence, the COVID-19 Counterrevolution is a planned and highly dangerous attack of the monopoly bourgeoisie against which the working class and the oppressed must organize a fight back.


It is only the (criminally) naïve Lockdown Left which reject recognizing the political strategic calculations of the monopoly bourgeoise. Worse, these fools even believe that the capitalist governments around the world supposedly implement the Lockdown policy against the interests of the bourgeoisie! As we have shown above, the opposite is true: the monopoly capitalists have at least 1.8 trillion reasons to support the reactionary Lockdown policy!


Consequently, the pro-capitalist Lockdown Left not only support the Lockdown policy, they even demand a longer and more draconic curfew for the popular masses (see e.g. the notorious “ZeroCovid” campaign in Britain). [7] Marxists designate such a reactionary policy as “police state socialism”, a social-bonapartist support for the ruling class. [8]


Authentic revolutionaries must break with all full, semi- and quarter-supporters of such bourgeois Lockdown “socialism”. These are rotten elements of the old order which are both going down hand in hand. The future are the workers and oppressed who rise-up in rebellion against the counterrevolutionary attacks of the ruling class. This is the place where revolutionaries must fight and organize!








Table 1: Biggest Billionaire Gainers in 2020 (in $ Billion)


                                              Change in 2020                  Net Worth


Elon Musk                          139.7                                     167.2


Jeff Bezos                            76.9                                       191.8


Zhong Shanshan              70.9                                       77.8


Huang Zheng                    43.5                                       63.1


Dan Gilbert                         27.5                                       34.6




Table 2: Winners and Losers in 2020 (in $)


500 Billionaires                                                 A Gain of $1,800,000,000,000


3,500,000 Working People                            A Loss of $3,500,000,000,000




[1] Devon Pendleton and Jack Witzig: Bezos, Musk Smash Records as World’s Richest Added $1.8 Trillion, Bloomberg, 31. Dezember 2020,

[2] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: See also 3.4 Trillion Reasons. An ILO study shows the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for the international working class and popular masses. How does this relate to the global rise of state repression? 25 March 2020,

[3] ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. Sixth edition. Updated estimates and analysis, 23 September 2020, p. 11

[4] The RCIT has analyzed the COVID-19 counterrevolution extensively since its beginning. Starting from 2 February we have published more than 60 pamphlets, essays, articles and statements plus a book which are all compiled at a special sub-page on our website: In particular we refer readers to the RCIT Manifesto: COVID-19: A Cover for a Major Global Counterrevolutionary Offensive. We are at a turning point in the world situation as the ruling classes provoke a war-like atmosphere in order to legitimize the build-up of chauvinist state-bonapartist regimes, 21 March 2020, In addition, we draw attention to our book by Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It. A Marxist analysis and strategy for the revolutionary struggle, RCIT Books, April 2020, See also our very first article on this issue by Almedina Gunić: Coronavirus: "I am not a Virus"... but WE will be the Cure! The chauvinist campaign behind the “Wuhan Coronavirus” hysteria and the revolutionary answer, 2 February 2020,; Michael Pröbsting: The Second Wave of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution. On the ruling class strategy in the current conjuncture, its inner contradictions and the perspectives of the workers and popular resistance, 20 July 2020,; by the same author: The Police and Surveillance State in the Post-Lockdown Phase. A global review of the ruling class’s plans of expanding the bonapartist state machinery amidst the COVID-19 crisis, 21 May 2020,; COVID-19: The Great Barrington Declaration is indeed Great! Numerous medical scientists protest against the reactionary lockdown policy, 11 October 2020,

[5] See on this e.g. our essay by Michael Pröbsting: How the Ruling Class Prepared for COVID-19. A number of events before and after the beginning of the pandemic demonstrate the political nature of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution, 3 December 2020,

[6] Quoted in Ravi Kant: What the world will look like after Covid, Asia Times, 4 January 2021,

[7] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: COVID-19: Zero Socialism in the “ZeroCOVID“ campaign. Following the model of China and Australia, some British Stalinists and “Trotskyists” call for a “total and indefinite lockdown”, 22 December 2020,

[8] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: COVID-19: The Current and Historical Roots of Bourgeois Lockdown “Socialism”. Police State and Universal Basic Income are key elements of the new version of reformist “War Socialism” of 1914, 19 December 2020,