by Gabby Thorpe – Mon 20 Jan 2020, socialistworker.co.uk
Billionaire bosses, politicians and celebrities descended on Davos in Switzerland this week for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF).
The WEF was set up to “improve the state of the world”. But in reality, it’s just a chance for politicians and billionaires to make deals.
Oxfam has published its annual report on inequality ahead of the conference. The report showed that the 2,153 billionaires in the world have more wealth than 4.6 billion people.
And the 22 richest men have more wealth than the 326 million women over 20 years old living in Africa.
Oxfam says that the number of billionaires has doubled over the last year, at the cost of ordinary people.
The report focusses on how wealth inequality disproportionately affects women. Women and girls carry out more than 75 percent of unpaid care work globally.
Some 42 per cent of women across the world can’t go into paid employment because they are responsible for taking care of someone else. Those who have paid jobs in care have to put up with irregular hours and poor pay.
Calculations carried out by Oxfam revealed that the care work carried out by women contributes over £8.3 trillion to the global economy.
According to the report, a rise of just 0.5 percent in taxes on the richest one percent over ten years would equal enough investment to create 117 million jobs in care sectors.
This job creation would help to ease the immense burden put on women around the world.
Amitabh Behar, the CEO of Oxfam India, is attending WEF to represent the charity. He said, “Governments created the inequality crisis—they must act now to end it.
“They must ensure corporations and wealthy individuals pay their fair share of tax and increase investment in public services and infrastructure.”
Climate change is also set to be on the agenda in Davos. The International Monetary Fund has warned that the economy is vulnerable to the climate emergency. But it’s the ruling classes that are causing the crisis.
Hundreds of climate protesters embarked on a three day march to Davos on Sunday. Rosalina Mueller from co-organisers Young Socialists said, “They say they want to make the world better, but for 50 years they haven’t done anything.”
Those attending WEF won’t make plans to end inequality or deal with climate change. The only way to put a stop to these issues is by ending the capitalist system that profits from them.
“Without treating this as a real crisis we cannot solve it,” was the rallying cry from school climate strike leader Greta Thunberg to world leaders this week.
Unfortunately for her—and for us—they won’t listen.
Speaking at the Davos conference, hosted by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Thunberg joined climate activists Autumn Peltier, Salvador Gomez-Colon and Natasha Wang Mwansa.
Billionaires and politicians gathered at the ski resort in Switzerland to discuss its key theme—“stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world”.
Also due to speak on the climate crisis was Bank of England governor Mark Carney and former US vice president Al Gore.
Ahead of Davos, Thunberg and other strike leaders demanded that governments and companies halt investment, extraction and subsidies for fossil fuels.
But for the fossil fuel magnates and banking fat cats crammed into the conference halls in Davos, nothing of the sort is planned.
The tiny minority who fill the world’s boardrooms and sign off on new fossil fuels explorations plan to expand operations, not cut back.
Davos doesn’t challenge rule by the handful of super-rich—it entrenches it.
It allows the scum at the top of society to hobnob with each other, all while pretending to care about the fact that the planet is on fire.
It’s not just that they represent a rotten system. Davos delegates lack the power or the will to challenge the system as a whole.
The answer isn’t more conferences of the rich and powerful to shore up their capitalist system—it’s to build a force powerful enough to take them on.
The fight for our lives—and our world—is on.
It will mean building a society that can take on the causes of extreme weather, rising sea levels, soaring temperatures, floods and species extinction.
The bosses at Davos pay lip service to the climate emergency—but they don’t have the same interests as us.
Their priority is clinging on to their wealth and power, whatever the environmental cost. Our battle is to fight for a sustainable world built on the interests of the planet and ordinary people.