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Global elite wallow in wealth at Davos summit

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Issue 2588
Billionaires Melinda and Bill Gates at World Economic Forum in 2017
Billionaires Melinda and Bill Gates at World Economic Forum in 2017 (Pic: Remy Steinegger/WikiCommons)

Bosses, politicians and celebrities descended on Davos in Switzerland this week for the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Politicians claim they are going to secure good deals in the “national interest”.

They are really there to prostrate themselves in front of bosses and do cosy business deals.

They surround themselves with celebrities and hypocritical do-gooders in the vain hope some of the stardust will rub off on them.

This year US president Donald Trump is going—something a sitting US president hasn’t done since Bill Clinton in 2000.

He is likely to ridicule the international liberal elite that despise him.

Yet he has consistently delivered for the rich and corporations.

His trillion dollar tax cut last year will make inequality and poverty skyrocket.

Davos comes at the same time as the Oxfam charity releases their annual report into global poverty.


It shows that last year 82 percent of the wealth created went to the richest 1 percent. The bottom half of the global population saw no increase in their personal wealth.

“All over the world, the economy of the 1% is built on the backs of low paid workers,” said the report.

It exposes the hypocrisy of the Davos attendees’ claims to want an end to poverty.

The system they profit from produces poverty.

Oxfam angered the right when it tweeted, “we have an extreme form of capitalism that only works for those at the top”.

The charity is right that the system only works for a few. That’s how capitalism works. It is a machine that inevitably produces and deepens divisions.

The report describes how billionaires’ wealth increased by £546 billion in 12 months.

“This huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over,” it said.

People attending Davos are not stupid—they know a huge amount of anger at the system exists in society. So the eight person board of co-chairs at the WEF is all women this year.

This is a direct response to the #MeToo campaign and growing anger at sexism in society.

But as the Oxfam report points out, “Women are in the worst work, and almost all the super-rich are men.” Decisions about the WEF panel will not change that.

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell is set to attend. It’s a sign of the pressure on Labour to appear “responsible” to bosses.

McDonnell is making a big mistake—he should stay well clear of the nest of vipers.

Jeremy Corbyn did so well at last year’s general election by separating himself from the normal run of besuited politicians.

Labour should stay true to that radicalism.

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