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Reich writes: "The annual confab of the captains of global industry, finance, and wealth is underway in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum."

Robert Reich. (photo: Getty)
Robert Reich. (photo: Getty)


The Fall of Davos Man

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

25 January 19

 

he annual confab of the captains of global industry, finance, and wealth is underway in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum. 

Meanwhile, Oxfam reports that the wealth of the 2,200 billionaires across the globe increased by $900 billion last year – or $2.5 billion a day. Their 12 percent increase in wealth contrasts with a drop of 11 percent in the wealth of the bottom half of the people of the world. In fact, the world’s 26 richest billionaires now own as much as the 3.8 billion who comprise the bottom half of the planet’s population.

If Davos’s attendees ignore all this, and blame the rise of right-wing populism around the globe on racism fueled by immigrants from the Middle East and from Central America, they’re deluding themselves.

The real source of the rise of repressive authoritarianism, nativism, and xenophobia in the United States as well as Italy, Spain, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, Bulgaria, Greece, France, and Britain is a pervasive sense that elites are rigging the world economy for themselves. And, guess what? They are.

Message to Davos Man (and Women): Either commit to pushing for broader prosperity and democracy, or watch as trade wars, capital controls, and isolationism erode global prosperity (including yours) and global peace.

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+52 # Porfiry 2019-01-25 10:21
Spot on. Brexit and The Wall emerge from this savage repression. Today is Robert Burns birthday. One of his most significant poems is, "A man's a man for a'(all) that," proclaiming the infinite value a person despite his or her wealth or earthly standing.
 
 
+39 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-25 12:12
Finally, Reich has returned to an area he knows a lot about and he's talking sense --


"The real source of the rise of repressive authoritarianis m, nativism, and xenophobia in the United States as well as Italy, Spain, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, Bulgaria, Greece, France, and Britain is a pervasive sense that elites are rigging the world economy for themselves. "


But the elites are also the cause of left wing populism, too. It is important to note, as Ralph Nader always does, that there's a lot in common between left wing populism and right wing populism. They spring out of the same understanding of the world conditions created by the last 40 years of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatis m -- the party doctrines of both the Republicans and Democrats.


Davos Man/ Woman is not going to change. They talk all liberal and humanitarian, but that is just talk. They are vicious and ruthless in their acquisition of wealth and power. There is only one solution to Davos Man/Woman -- democratic socialism. Tax the mother fuckers out of existence.
 
 
+33 # vicortiz 2019-01-25 12:15
I am a firm believer in the centrality of dynamic balance in life . Wealth distribution will never be static, but it is way out of whack today. The only way to balance it without bloody revolution (which gets ever more difficult as we see the lethal power that global arms dealers provide to dictators with resources, e.g. Syria) is through democratic self-regulation by, of, and for the People. This sort of democratic regulation will need to happen at both the national and global level, so we need to elect social democrats who will support real economic justice, and global as well as local action.
 
 
+16 # Buddha 2019-01-25 13:01
With the rise of corrupt oligarchic autocracies like Putin's Russia, why would Davos Man believe that the course they have followed for the last 30 years isn't working? If they have to choose, in their minds, between a world chopped up between oppressive undemocratic oligarchies with them in charge or a "global democratic socialist" alternative where their wealth and power is necessarily diminished, is there really any doubt what "Davos Man" is going to support?
 
 
+9 # HarryP 2019-01-25 13:01
In the 19th century, the threat of Marxism spawned a capitalist reform movement in the guise of social democracy.

As the Marxist threat became but a distant memory, the high priests of capitalism (from Milton Friedman to Vladimir Putin) managed to resestanlish a form of capitalism that’s becoming unsustainable - unless they are willing to accept the consequences.

The capitalist at Davos would be well advised to pay attention to the likes of AOC.
 
 
+2 # Wise woman 2019-01-26 16:57
As well as Bernie Sanders who has been talking about the top 1% vs.the bottom 99% for the past three years. It is true that this is absolutely unsustainable. If we can't turn it around sooner than later, we will all be screwed including those in Davos who will rapidly learn that they can't eat money or stocks and bonds!
 
 
0 # Kimc 2019-01-26 20:54
Either we look to the government to save us, or we save ourselves. Either would be long difficult slogs requiring patience and a long-term commitment from all of us. but most of all, we need a vision of what the future could be like. Maybe someone should update *Ecotopia* and make a movie out of it?
 

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