As some of the rich and powerful gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum last month, Oxfam International issued a report revealing that the combined fortunes of the world’s billionaires rose by 12% last year as the poorest half of humanity saw their wealth decline by 11%.
World Economic Forum
Such is the growing alarm at the devastating impact of climate change that even some world leaders have distanced themselves from US President Donald Trump at the January World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos in Switzerland.
Trump was greeted with boos and hisses in response to his criticism of the media as “nasty, mean, vicious and fake”. At one session, even after being favourably introduced by Davos founder Klaus Schwab, Trump was still greeted with disapproving boos.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has seized on International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts predicting a rise in global economic growth following the US administration’s corporate tax cuts, to call for similar cuts here.
Describing the proposed cut as an “enterprise tax program”, Turnbull said on January 22 that the measure would “result in more investment and more jobs” — despite significant evidence that “trickle down” economics does not work.
Treasurer Scott Morrison has demanded that Labor supports its proposal to cut the tax rate for big business from 30% to 25%.
The Occupy movement, which started as a protest against Wall Street, but ballooned across the US and internationally in 2011, adopted the slogan “We are the 99%” to symbolise the struggle for a better world against the greed of “the 1%”. Some people at the time thought it was an exaggeration to talk about the 1% versus the 99%, but according to Oxfam, since 2015, that richest 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet combined.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa summit in Kigali, Rwanda, on May 11 to 13 reinforced extractive industry and high-tech myths.
The gathering unveiled the elite’s exuberant imagination and its lack of exposure to the continent’s harsh economic realities. As an antidote, grassroots protesters all over Africa are questioning the logic of export-led “growth” and renewed fiscal austerity. Instead they demand policies that meet their basic needs.
The latest World Bank Global Monitoring Report boasted that only 9.6% of the world's population — 702 million people — are forecast to be living in extreme poverty in 2015, 200 million fewer than in 2012. And this even with the WB now raising its official poverty line from the 2008 US$1.25 a day level to US$1.90.
WB president Jim Yong Kim declared that the world has a good chance of ending extreme poverty by 2030.