Monday, January 19, 2015

All I Want from Davos This Year

I feel like a kid writing his wish list for Santa Claus.  In this case Santa would be the World Economic Forum meeting, a gaggle of billionaires and top politicos, gathering this week in the beautiful mountain resort of Davos, Switzerland.

We know they're going to receive a couple of "this is it, really, the world is ending, last call" reports on the terminal state of our global environment.  That should get them through the first three courses and then, for dessert, they'll mull over a report on inequality from Oxfam showing that, by next year, 1% of mankind will own more than half of everything.  If you're with me and still safely within that 99% that means we get to share the other half.  Here's your share.  Sorry.

The charity’s research, published on Monday, shows that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the best-off 1% has increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, while the least well-off 80% currently own just 5.5%.

“The message is that rising inequality is dangerous. It’s bad for growth and it’s bad for governance. We see a concentration of wealth capturing power and leaving ordinary people voiceless and their interests uncared for.

Oxfam made headlines at Davos last year with a study showing that the 85 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the poorest 50% (3.5 billion people). The charity said this year that the comparison was now even more stark, with just 80 people owning the same amount of wealth as more than 3.5 billion people, down from 388 in 2010.

Oxfam said it was calling on governments to adopt a seven point plan:

• Clamp down on tax dodging by corporations and rich individuals.

• Invest in universal, free public services such as health and education.

• Share the tax burden fairly, shifting taxation from labour and consumption towards capital and wealth.

• Introduce minimum wages and move towards a living wage for all workers.

• Introduce equal pay legislation and promote economic policies to give women a fair deal.

• Ensure adequate safety-nets for the poorest, including a minimum-income guarantee.

• Agree a global goal to tackle inequality.

Speaking to the Guardian, Byanyima added: “Extreme inequality is not just an accident or a natural rule of economics. It is the result of policies and with different policies it can be reduced. I am optimistic that there will be change.

This echoes the warning from Nobel laureate economist, Joe Stiglitz, in his 2012 book, "The Price of Inequality" that was heralded by The New York Times as "the single most comprehensive counterargument to Democratic neo-liberalism and Republican laissez-faire theories."  In his book, Stiglitz dissects inequality and then demonstrates how classic merit- and market-based inequality has been utterly eclipsed by the rampant inequality crafted by our legislatures.  It stands as an indictment of our political classes for their abject betrayal of the publics they are supposed to serve.  

What began as a means to shift the tax burden from capital to labour and benefits from labour to capital has, today, predictably resulted in the transfer of political power and influence from the electorate to capital in a process now called "political capture."  It's a form of political corruption by which the political apparatus is put to the service of privileged interests at the cost and to the detriment of the public interest. Nowhere is this as blatant as in Washington but there's plenty of it in the Great White North as well.  Fossil fuel subsidies are a classic example. Harper's income splitting initiative that will benefit the top 15% of households is another.  Every corporate tax exemption and deferral, almost every subsidy, grant and waiver (especially ecological) come under this umbrella of legislated inequality.  

The bitter irony is that this political capture so boldly on display in our politically engineered inequality is the unmovable mountain that will continue to thwart any possible chance we have at saving this planet, our environment, for future generations.  We haven't got a chance, not a snowball's chance in hell, of salvaging what remains of our environment until we begin to see those forces that suppress action that only they are empowered (and duty bound) to initiate for what they are.  That goes for the lot of them.

So, what do I want from Davos Claus this year?  Truth, that's all.  Just complete, unvarnished truth about the threats facing mankind, who is behind those threats and what we have to do, now, to fight back.  What's that?  There is no Santa? Well, shit!


Unknown said...

I was writing a book Mound I researched the hell out of it 10,000 pages of honest reference I found the dark underbelly of Davos CIA NATO bilderbergers secret society governments and corporations. I was sickened at the truth and most can't handle the truth so they stay cuddled up in their snails or turtle shell or keep their heads buried in the sand.

I started with a visualization vis a vis:

I am an alien and I'm visiting Earth for the first time. I notice the space over the atmosphere is loaded with "space junk" orbiting debris left over from so-called space missions. [the International Space Station has to be monitored 24/7 to avoid this stuff and change course when necessary] Next I visit the highest point on Earth and notice at left over base camps all kinds of thrown away mountain equipment Mount Everest. I go survey the land and see land fills every where some as big as small mountains with people desperately climbing over them trying to find something what? Then I look to Oceans and am disappointed by all the plastic caught in the great gyers. I mourn for the Planet because she is the crown jewel and heart of the universe and people are treating her terribly wrong. Ever since Galileo first used the telescope to observe the heavens I found humans have been trying to find a planet like Earth but have not succeeded. So why are they destroying paradise the garden of eden?

Anonymous said...

All it is is....dah, dah, dah! We don´t give a shxx about you and your poor.