Monday 25 September 2017

Gap between rich and poor means unstable world for everyone

The global elite is quite rightly afraid of becoming a victim of its own success, says Stephen Donnelly

Talks: Jose Manuel Barroso and Enda Kenny at the World
Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Photo: Michel Euler/AP
Talks: Jose Manuel Barroso and Enda Kenny at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Photo: Michel Euler/AP

Stephen Donnelly

The world's uber-rich met in Davos last week for their annual shindig. One of the messages coming from the millionaires and billionaires was unexpected, and one we'd do well to heed: rising inequality is becoming a very dangerous thing.

The World Economic Forum, which hosts the Davos event, has identified income inequality as the second greatest threat to the global economy. The global elite, it would seem, is afraid of becoming a victim of its own success.

On Monday, Oxfam reported that the richest 85 people on earth control the same wealth as the poorest half of the global population. That's one double decker bus of people versus 3.5 billion men, women and children. Or, as one analyst pointed out, each of the wealthiest 85 has access to the same resources as 42 million people. Oxfam's message to Davos was that the super-rich have successfully captured the democratic process, so that the politicians now write the laws for the benefit of the very few, rather than for the greater good.

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