Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/796/18072
Davos summit: World capitalism means increased inequality
Behind the headlines and speeches trumpeting 'economic recovery', inequality is so blatant that even the capitalist leaders cannot ignore it.
In fact, the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos showed they are terrified that inequality will lead to mass revolt.
The 'Global Risks 2014' document maps out what the world's political leaders and the planet's biggest business sharks see as the major threats to their system.
It includes: "fiscal crises in key economies, structurally high unemployment/ underemployment, water crises, severe income disparity, global governance failure, food crises, failure of a major financial mechanism/institution, profound political and social instability".
The horrendous situation facing young people lays bare the utter bankruptcy of the capitalist system.
The WEF document says: "The generation coming of age in the 2010s faces high unemployment and precarious job situations, hampering their efforts to build a future and raising the risk of social unrest...
"In developing countries, an estimated two-thirds of the youth are not fulfilling their economic potential."
But instead of addressing this perspective, providing jobs and education, recent studies have re-affirmed the investment strike of the super-rich, sucking lifeblood from the economy.
Global accountants Deloitte recently uncovered a shocking $2.8 trillion cash pile in the vaults of the world's biggest non-financial companies, with five companies alone hoarding the equivalent of the United Arab Emirates' GDP!
So what do these great leaders offer up as a solution to these problems? Their perspective is for continued anti-worker policies and austerity 'sacrifices', this time in order to make sure that our 'sacrifices' so far did the job!
Beyond Davos and the continued crisis-ridden state of the world economy, the idea of a budding 'recovery' is central to world capitalism's political agenda for the coming year.
The ruling classes hope against hope that telling us the worst is over will help to calm the stormy waters of radicalisation and resistance to their attacks.
Even in the austerity-choked countries of southern Europe, workers and youth are being told that 2014 will be the year when their 'sacrifices' (read suffering) at the altar of capitalist markets finally begins to pay off.
In Greece, workers are asked to rejoice at the "primary surplus" the government and 'Troika' hope to register this year but are told nothing of what good this surplus (mostly based on savage cuts which have sown mass poverty and hunger) will do them.
In Ireland, the government talks of a "victorious" exit from the Troika bailout out of one side of its mouth, while announcing new brutal impoverishing measures, such as water charges, out of the other.
The world economy remains in the deep end, overwhelmed by the contradictions of the profit system. This log-jam can only be lastingly broken by ending the dictatorship of these companies and instead democratically planning the vast wealth they control, thus reorganising the world economy on a socialist basis.
Internationally, ordinary people and the workers' movement can have no faith in an imminent recovery bringing a better life or undoing the damage of the last years.
The only 'recovery' capitalism is interested in will be based on axing our rights and living standards.
Only a 'revolt' that is organised to fight for socialist change can lay the basis for the economic growth that we so desperately need.
- 85 super-rich people in the world, in total, own as much wealth ($110 trillion) as half the world's population of 3.5 billion people.
- In the US the share of income going to the top 1% has doubled since 1980 to 20%. For the top 0.1% it has quadrupled.
- Capitalist investor Warren Buffet, ($53.5 billion wealth), pays only 17.7% in income tax while his secretary (on an above average salary of $60,000) pays 30% in tax.
In The Socialist 29 January 2014:
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