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 Water.org, 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.