This week, the world’s wealthy and powerful meet in Davos, Switzerland, for their annual talk fest and exchange of business cards. This year several panels have been organized around the theme of widening inequality – which has grown even more extreme since the Great Recession, both in the U.S. and around the world. As you probably know, the 400 richest Americans have more wealth than the bottom half of the American population combined – and since the “recovery” began in 2009, the wealthiest 1 percent have got 95 percent of the economic gains while the bottom 90 percent has become poorer. But the U.S. isn’t the only place where inequality is surging. A new report from Oxfam shows that the world’s richest 85 people now have the same amount of wealth ($1.7 trillion) as the bottom half the world’s population combined (that’s 3.5 billion people). The world’s wealthiest 1 percent have $110 trillion, 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world.
The right in the U.S. considers any mention of this sort of thing “class warfare,” motivated by envy. In reality, it’s a growing threat to global capitalism. But what are the chances that the wealthy and powerful, meeting in Davos, will be motivated to do anything about it?
This is, without any possible question, a grave and monstrous evil that will only lead to still more grave and monstrous evils. Only an absolute fool will defend this state of affairs.
In practice, this means that Republicans will defend it vocally, while Democrats will defend it passively by playing along with the hyper-rich and doing nothing to offend them. After all, Obama’s portfolio had done quite nicely over the past five years. Meanwhile, we will defend our favorite fools.