One Percent

Oxfam International added an exclamation symbol to simmering suspicion – predicting by 2016, “one percent” will control over half global wealth. As of today, the richest 1% control 48% of all wealth. More sobering – the top 80 possess 1.9 trillion, equal to everything shared by 3.5 billion people on the wrong end of the scale. Thirty five of those 80 are American, followed by Germany and Russia with 7 each. Seventy are men, 11 of them inherited their fortune. Their bursting coffers, almost exclusively sustained by finance, health care, insurance, technology and resources.

This week Switzerland hosts the World Economic Forum – 2,500 elite economic players gather to discuss global economy and trends. What exactly is a world economic forum? Their website says “committed to improving the state of the world”. Founder and executive director Klaus Schwab spoke to the Associated Press on the eve of formal proceedings. Schwab said – international teamwork was needed to generate economic growth and combat terrorism. He expressed concern that falling oil prices and deflation could put companies out of business.

Davos,  Swiss Alp resort host of WEF needn’t fret – local economy basks in financial reward. Not only will 40 world leaders join 2,500 economic big wigs, it seems celebrity favors the Alps in winter. Last year Matt Damon and Goldie Hawn  lent glamorous star power – Damon pitched, a charity he co-founded, Hawn reportedly led a meditation session. This year Al Gore teams with Pharrell Williams in a scheduled discussion “What’s Next, A Climate For Action”.

Pardon me for pondering the World Economic Forum as absurd. Attempting to shellac a gathering of global economic players under the guise of “committed to improving the state of the world”, is laughable. Trotting out celebrity panelists – transparent attempts to dupe us into believing the 1% give a damn – strikes me as painfully inept and juvenile. Look no further than the link below – 25 American corporations who spent more on lobbies than they paid in taxes.

Anyone naive enough to think the one percent gives a rat’s ass about making the world a better place, needs their head examined. Oxfam plans to be in Davos – urging world leaders to improve public services, introduce living wages, end gender gaps and come down hard on tax-dodging corporations. Oxfam doesn’t stand a chance.

Greece This Wheel

By now most of us have heard about the economic turmoil in Greece. Have you pondered why they’re having such a hard time? Think about this for a few minutes, I guarantee that not only will their problems make sense, you’ll be shaking your head in disbelief.

For starters, pastry chefs, radio announcers, hairdressers, and masseurs in steam baths are a few of the 600 professions allowed to retire at age 50, with a government pension of 95% of their last years earnings.  The reason you ponder? Due to the “arduous and perilous” nature of their job.  For those lucky enough to live in Athens and have a job, commuting to work is free. A state of the art transit system built for the Olympics operates on the honour system. No one bothers to pay. The average pay for a transit worker is equivalent to over 97,000 US. Ticket sales bring in around 130 million US while wages are hovering at over 800 million US. Tax evasion is part of Greek culture. Only 5000 out of a population of 12 million report earnings of more than 140,000 US, while studies show over 60,000 Greeks have holdings in the country of well over a million dollars. The list of astounding reasons for problems in Greece goes on and on. Click below to learn more.

The Big Fat Greek Gravy Train: A special investigation into the EU-funded culture of greed, tax evasion and scandalous waste | Mail Online