Them and us fishes, image Suzanne Beishon

Them and us fishes, image Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Davos special!

Yes, it’s that time of year again! The annual World Economic Forum will see the planet’s billionaire bosses and political lackeys gather to hobnob at the Swiss ski resort that sounds like a Doctor Who villain. So what’s the state of play in 2019?


  • The world’s 26 richest billionaires own as much as the poorest half of humanity, says Oxfam. The earlier figure of eight billionaires was revised up last year, following new data from Credit Suisse. But the preposterous concentration of wealth is still ever greater – in 2017 it was 43 billionaires; in 2016, 61. And you could now fit them all in a stretch hummer
  • Wall Street has posted over $100 billion in profits for the first time. The US’s six biggest banks netted $111 billion in 2018, says Bloomberg – even before reporting their fourth-quarter results
  • But the chief execs are worried! 30% expect slower economic growth this year, six times more than in 2018, says a PwC survey
  • And house prices in the wealthiest areas have fallen by up to 25% in the last 12 months, caused by (the working-class revolt which was) the Leave vote, says Your Move. It couldn’t happen to nicer people
Take the wealth off the 1%, photo Paul Mattsson

Take the wealth off the 1%, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)


  • Meanwhile, the planet’s 3.8 billion poorest actually suffered an 11% wealth reduction last year – compared to the billionaires’ 12% increase, or $2.5 billion a day, says Oxfam
  • 175,000 retail workers in Britain could lose their jobs this year if unions don’t combat the closure of 23,000 shops predicted by Altus Group
  • Surprise, surprise. Two-fifths of ex-council homes bought under Thatcher’s flagship housing policy, ‘right to buy’, are no longer the dwellings of owner-occupiers. They are cash-cow rentals for private landlords, according to FoI data
  • The Spice Girls’ gender justice t-shirts are produced in a Bangladesh factory where abused and harassed women workers earn just 35p an hour. Tory-turned-Blairite Ginger Spice has a net worth of $40 million, says Time. Union organising and socialist change, not super-rich celebs, are the path to women’s liberation