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A One Per Cent World

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Trickle down Economics
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'There's been class warfare going on for the last 20 years and my class has won.'

Warren Buffet- fourth wealthiest person in the world.

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The Fat Cats in the Snow- the global elite- came in their private jets last month to attend the winter session of World Economic Forum held in Davos - a mountain resort in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The forum brings together academics, policy makers and corporate elites to discuss issues ranging from investment to the environment, employment, technology and strangely enough- inequality.

But does the forum serve any useful purpose? Susan George of Transnational Institute says "The Davos class, despite its members' nice manners and well-tailored clothes, is predatory. These people cannot be expected to act logically because they are not thinking about longer-term interests, usually not even their own, but about eating, right now. "[i]

Lew Rockwell- an economic journalist- agrees and puts it more bluntly "It is a meeting of the very rich and it's a meeting of the politicians that they own". I think it has always been about control for the US Empire, for the oligarchs associated with it. They may talk about wanting to solve problems, or make people's lives better, [but] what they actually are doing is plotting even more wars, interventions, more economic controls, more 'banksterism', more benefits to the power elite versus the people." [ii]

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But this time, amidst the popping of champagne bottles and bacchanalian revelry for the select few-costing $20,000 per ticket- there was a palpable sense of unease at the fact that free market capitalism spawned global inequalities on an unprecedented scale. Fueling the unease among the Davos class was a report of Oxfam Charity which disclosed the fact that the world's richest 1 percent will own more of the global wealth than that of the other 99 percent of the global population by 2016, unless urgent steps are taken to address the inequality. The stark finding of the Oxfam report is chilling- to quote-"In 2014 the richest 1% of people in the world owned 48% of global wealth leaving just 52% to be shared between the other 99% of adults on the planet."

The report further states -"If this trend continues of an increasing wealth share to the richest, the top1% will have more wealth than the remaining 99% of people in just two years", with the wealth share of the top 1% exceeding 50% by 2016."[iii]


Still Not Enough
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The report warns that wealthy elite of just 80 individuals have the same wealth owned by 3.5 billion- half of the globe's population.

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In India the wealth divide between the rich and the poor became greater even as the economy grew. But the benefits of growth accrued to the extremely wealthy pushing income inequality further. The reform process of the Congress government favored the corporate elites and worsened the plight of the common man. The net impact of the 'deform process' made the Congress to lose the General election which swept the BJP government of Modi to power. The same flawed economic policy of free market capitalism continues unabated by the Modi government with cuts in social spending in health and education affecting the many and firmly entrenching the powerful business family oligarchies in India.

Even in countries such as South Africa and Nigeria free market economics tells the same story of pervasive and wide spread poverty combined with widening gaps between the haves and have-nots.

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C R Sridhar is a lawyer from Bangalore,India.He writes for the Economic and Political Weekly and has contributed to the Monthly Review.He's a fan of music,movies and websites with alternative views.His writings are available at sapientpen.blogspot.in

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