The World Economic Forum, that meets in Davos every year, was made aware of a report on the growing disparity across the planet four years ago, and the world is still grappling with reforms that could somewhat change this scenario. The Oxfam report, timed with this year’s Davos summit, dramatises the problem of unequal distribution of wealth in the capitalist system, that had a good run for the past few decades, mainly after Communism and socialism progressively lost out. What should, however, cause the most worry is new information showing poverty in China and India is worse than earlier thought of, further exacerbating the dangerous concentration of wealth in a handful of people. These super-rich wield enormous clout, avoid paying taxes, put pressure on wages and control the rules of the game. Can the world do something about this?
Globalisation, thought to have spurred Donald Trump’s triumph and caused Brexit, is not the only problem. More automation means those owning the means of production will get richer, while the middle class f won’t even have the jobs they grew up with. While there’s no immediate threat to the super-rich, Davos’ thinkers can ideate on how to tweak welfare systems to cope with today’s challenges. The WEF knows rising inequality and polarisation are the two major risks to the economy. But how much is the world prepared to do to open up welfare systems to help the poorest, as it examines ways to tax the rich more. The problem is that the super-rich anyway own the world!