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Isn't It Ironic? The 1% Battles Economic Inequality at a Swiss Resort Gathering


World  (tags: 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', 'HUMANRIGHTS!', corruption, inequality, Rich and Poor, world )

Kit
- 239 days ago - alternet.org
The World Economic Forum brings together the richest and most powerful people in the world. But what's their message to the world's poor?



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Kit B. (276)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 9:30 am
Photo Credit: Boule/Shutterstock.com








































World and business leaders are flying to Davos, Switzerland this week to participate in the World Economic Forum, a gathering of the richest people in the world. This year, the 1% will be focusing on income inequality, among other issues.

It’s a meeting that brings together the most powerful people in the world to talk and shmooze. This year, those attending include Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister; Bill Gates; JP Morgan head Jamie Dimon; Matt Damon; Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg. There’s also a lot of buzz over the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be attending the same forum as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

The issues the forum will touch on include:

-Technology and surveillance

-Inequality

-Geopolitics

But it’s inequality that is capturing the most attention around the world, and the forum will reflect that--even if many of the people they invite perpetuate inequality. In the run-up to the forum, an Oxfam report revealed that 85 of the richest individuals around the world own as much as the poorest half of the world.

It would be foolish to expect that the World Economic Forum is the place where real solutions to inequality will be forged. The Guardian’s Economic blog criticized the forum for inviting tax avoiders, and suggested the forum not invite those people--though the publication admitted that might leave the forum empty.

“Don't expect much support for any of Oxfam's suggested remedies for inequality: that corporations should stop using offshore boltholes to avoid tax; that business leaders should support progressive taxation, universal provision of health and education, and a living wage in all the companies they control,” the blog states. “The CEOs in Davos may be worried about the impact of inequality but they are not that worried, and not nearly as worried as they should be.”
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By: Alex Kane | Alter Net |
 

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 9:31 am

I don't know if it's me or Care2 but the spacing is terrible. Sorry about that.
 

Deb E. (64)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 11:14 am
Gotta be Care2, right? :-)

I think some of the very rich are actually concerned about income inequality. Maybe not enough to give away some of their extra income to the poor on the streets, but some actually do, at least somewhat, care about the fact that people are suffering. The problem is, I think, anyway, that they blame the people who are suffering for being in the position they are in, and so don't feel they should do anything to help them. Even if people actually do have more ability to influence what happens to them in their lives than they realize, many of them are in such a bad frame of mind that they will never, ever be able to see how it is that they can help themselves. I see a world where the rich aren't hated, but looked to for guidance and hope. A world where the rich are more than happy to share their secrets to success instead of fearing that their success will go away if all people had the same wealth as they have. A world where the rich didn't feel they were better people just because they were rich. A world where the rich would establish free healthcare clinics, food banks, and job training skills for those who cannot pay for those things, and the ones who use them agree to pay that help forward. I see a world where people don't hate each other and constantly feel as if life is a competition. A world where people are more than happy to be happy for someone else who won the game, even though they had lost it. Maybe if we all started seeing that world, it could happen. It's worth a try, and surely couldn't hurt ;-)
 

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 11:19 am

I don't ask that the rich do anything but pay their taxes, and as we are in need of caring for the infrastructure, feeding the poor; converting our very old grids to new ones that are updated and able to work properly for new technologies, could the rich please do as they have in the past? That would be paying their taxes and having those taxes increased a little. Where did that money come from? Nasty practices, not hard work.
 

Deb E. (64)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 11:37 am
Not always. I feel you are generalizing that every person who has money got it by being nasty to others and avoiding taxes. That isn't true. Yes, their is corporate BS going on in the world, but if we try to look at what can be, maybe it could happen. I don't ask the rich to do anything. But I expect them to participate in a fair and just world. My words were a reflection of what I "see" in my mind's eye. Not what I see as is actually happening.
 

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 12:32 pm

I do agree some have earned their money, "the old fashioned way". They invented something, they invested and grew a business, etc.... On the heels of this recent fiasco on Wall Street, that involved banks and too many corporate CEO's to being listed here, it's hardly worth the effort to pretend that any but the few have become mega millionaires and billions by working their way up a ladder. What happened with this "crash" was direct theft of money from those who trusted the banks, still believed Wall Street was regulated and dared to think our government would protect the citizen before the SOB's that brought all of this on our heads, and into our tax dollars.
 

pam w. (191)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 1:29 pm
Anyone who earned their money ''the old-fashioned way'' should understand the value of having an economically comfortable society!

I'm deeply sickened by the 1%....so busily hiding their money/dodging their taxes, shipping jobs to other nations, etc.

These are NOT decent people!
 

Stardust Noel (52)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 2:12 pm
Thanks for this article, they should at least pay their taxes!
 

Sara V. (0)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 2:34 pm
"the World Economic Forum, a gathering of the richest people in the world"

Yes, they are the ones profiting from the system of regulation and favor-fashioned monopolies. Of course they are the richest. They are planning how best to continue to milk us little people. Their plans have gone so well for them so far.

"The problem is, I think, anyway, that they blame the people who are suffering for being in the position they are in, and so don't feel they should do anything to help them."

Agreed. We are stupid if we allow ourselves to be entrapped in their monetary system and "food" monopolies in particular. If we didn't participate in them, they would not profit from them.

"...could the rich please do as they have in the past? That would be paying their taxes and having those taxes increased a little."

This I don't agree with - taxation only leads to there being a pot of money which scumbags make plans to draw from (often through our "leaders") for their own benefit. The idea is that the money is to go back to the people, but that doesn't happen. Witness communist Chinese leadership and their BVI accounts - see what they are doing with the people's money. If there weren't taxes sent to a central government (at least with states there is local accountability), the feeding frenzy of the lobbyists and their companies could not occur. Fat government contracts would not be awarded, grants and loans would not exist to be squandered (e.g. Solyndra.) I know, there are those who will point to "good programs," but their perceived benefits do not outway the bad done by the aforementioned. Witness "aid" to Africa, which has resulted in wide scale impoverishment and the empowerment of warlords and undercutting of creative activity on the part of the common citizen.

 

Dave C. (214)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 2:44 pm
the 1% are just clueless......
 

JL A. (275)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 4:43 pm
Henry Ford had the right idea--pay people enough so they can buy your products (i.e., a living wage).
 

JL A. (275)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 4:46 pm
Take2: Henry Ford had the right idea--pay people enough that they can afford to buy your products (i.e., a living wage) and I believe he was among the one percent of his day.
 

Peta Clarke (25)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 5:12 pm
Thank you Kit noted. Nothing changes the same old same old.
 

Joanne Dixon (38)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 6:58 pm
Looking back from the age of 68, I disagree that nothing changes. This country has changed dramatically since the 1950s and 60s. Most of it not for the better.
 

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 9:58 pm
Thank for sharing such important news about such "important" people. Let's see the wealth of 85 people is = to the wealth of 3.5 Billion people. What does that reveal? Hmm... could it be that they are exploiting other people. (n, p, t)

Phishing scam flagged.
 

Rose NoFWDSPLZ (273)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 12:02 am
Get a life spammer I have flagged you

Thanks Kit, I am not sure what Australia prime minister has too offer
 

Frere Chatillon (44)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 1:48 am
Look what is happening in Ukraine:

http://www.kyivpost.com/content/kyiv/the-men-behind-the-masks-on-euromaidan-335346.html
 

Kit B. (276)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 5:08 am

Henry Ford was far from being noble but if for no other reason he knew if sales were to reach the average person they had to be able to afford the purchase. The same is true today, when we compare the cost of living and the long stagnant minimum wage; people can barely afford food and housing.

I agree Joanne, things have changed and not for the better. We need real regulations on business and of course banks, we must make education available to all and emphasis must be placed on science and math. This nonsense of teaching religion in place of science leaves our students far behind the rest of the world. It is not teachers or parents that are the problem but, politicians that are the problem.
 

Angelika R. (143)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 8:19 am
Guess what's the BEST thing about the annual WEF - yep, you guessed right: the PUBLIC EYE AWARD for the HALL OF SHAME, happening at the same time and not accidentally either!
Have a live peek at WEF > http://www.weforum.org/
 

Michael Kirkby (85)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 9:35 am
If you really want to read an interesting book read "Life Inc.: How Corporatism Conquered The World & How We Can Take It Back" by Douglas Rushkoff, Random House Publishers. It is one of the more interesting books I've read lately. Here are a site about it. You might be able to download it if you look around on Kickass or Pirate Bay.

life inc. by douglas rushkoff
 

Ben Oscarsito (338)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 10:13 am
WHO is listening to those bastards...?
 

Sara V. (0)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 10:14 am
"Henry Ford was far from being noble but if for no other reason he knew if sales were to reach the average person they had to be able to afford the purchase. The same is true today, when we compare the cost of living and the long stagnant minimum wage; people can barely afford food and housing. "

Wages don't seem to be the problem - it's rampant inflation. The fact that the "price" of everything is going "up" to match the devaluation of the dollar. Businesses aren't raising prices for the hell of it, the true cost in these soon-to-be-worthless dollars is rising. Every time they apply quantitative easing or borrow from the Federal Reserve to pay our national debt the number of dollars in circulation goes up and therefore their value goes down.

Think about it - if you were on an island and were trading in pearls, what would happen if someone new arrived with a boatload of pearls? The same thing that is happening in the U.S. and in other countries which use manufactured currency that isn't tied to a commodity of which there is a limited supply - The new people with their many pearls spend them at the old (high) value on the island, and by the time the little people figure out that there are many more pearls than there were, it is too late for their buying power. Their savings is now worthless and they must work overtime to obtain enough pearls. You could say "raise the minimum wage (or number or pearls) paid to each worker," but you won't get anywhere because they are constantly increasing the money supply (number of pearls in circulation) and we are always running to catch up.

The solution is to stop allowing them to create currency out of thin air and to tie it to something - gold, sheep, bitcoins, whatever. Just so we can all breathe easy instead of playing the stock market trying to keep up with the cost of living. End the Federal Reserve.
 

Sara V. (0)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 10:32 am
If we are worried about unemployment, forcing businesses to pay workers more for the same work is a bad idea. Small businesses are already disappearing and we are even seeing the bigger ones try to find loopholes or ways out so that they can survive.

Besides, by that logic, we could just increase the minimum wage to $1,000,000.00 per hour. Wouldn't that be great? No? The price of everything would just have to rise to match everyone's higher wage? Hmmm...
 

Kit B. (276)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 10:36 am

Really Sara, to take the minimum wage to 100,000. per hour is not on the agenda. Just a fair wage for a day's work. This is not crippling businesses in other countries, why then should our country be so very different? We were once the country that led the way in fairness and of course, education. Now we lag far behind.
 

Kit B. (276)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 11:13 am

Since 1988 Congress has raised it's own salary 15 times, to reflect rising costs. They have increased the minimum wage only 3 times.
 

Sara V. (0)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 7:56 pm
I was only trying to further illustrate my point with million dollar per hour wages.

Henry Ford could afford to pay his workers decently because he had them working assembly lines, a newish idea back then. This efficiency lowered the price of Ford cars and trucks so that more people bought them, increasing profits for Ford Motor Co. (Also, the Federal Reserve had not yet run wild with dollar creation, so he was dealing with a much more stable currency.) If there is nothing concrete driving a wage increase (i.e. it is brought about by force instead of organically), businesses cannot be expected to keep up and will either lay people off or close their doors.

Additionally, we are all operating in a controlled economy in which more and more dollars are continually injected, forcing us to run faster and faster on the dollar treadmill just to survive and purchase the necessities.

Ironically, the Wall Street Journal was recently bemoaning the potential horrors of lower prices (deflation). Peter Schiff gets at current economic policy: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-22/peter-schiff-destroys-deflation-ogre-myth

"In order to justify our current monetary and fiscal policies, in which governments refuse to rein in runaway deficits while central banks furiously expand the money supply, economists must convince us that inflation, which results in rising prices, is vital for economic growth."

"A January 5th article in The Wall Street Journal described the economic situation in Europe by saying "Anxieties are rising in the euro zone that deflation-the phenomenon of persistent falling prices across the economy that blighted the lives of millions in the 1930s-may be starting to take root as it did in Japan in the mid-1990s."

"But lower prices function as a counterweight to a contracting economy by cushioning the blow of the downturn. I would argue that those who lived through the Great Depression were grateful that they were able to buy more with what little money they had. Imagine how much worse it would have been if they had to contend with rising consumer prices as well. Consumers always want to buy, but sometimes they forego or defer purchases because they can't afford a desired good or service. Higher prices will only compound the problem. "

Mandating increased wages contributes to unemployment (and more people who are unemployable since their skill level doesn't merit the new minimum wage) and higher prices, both of which we don't want. However, as I stated already, we are already looping downward in a dollar death spiral chasing more and more currency as they print, until we all hate our lives spent earning instead of living. Let's not make it any worse.
 

Sara V. (0)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 7:58 pm
More to the point: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-30/guest-post-minimum-wage-myth-won%E2%80%99t-die
 

Sara V. (0)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 8:18 pm
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-05/guest-post-minimum-wage-forces-low-skill-workers-compete-higher-skill-workers
 

Gloria picchetti (290)
Friday January 24, 2014, 5:44 am
Ratz!
 
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