At the Davos trade fair the obscene inequalities of capital

At the Davos trade fair, the obscene inequalities of capital Il Manifesto

Greetings from the 54th edition of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where fear, volatility and the fear of instability prevail: the prevailing passions in financial capitalism. The topic that will be discussed until Friday alludes to these dark moods: “Trust”. “We find ourselves in a fragmented world and deepening social divisions, leading to widespread uncertainty and pessimism. We have to rebuild trust,” said 85-year-old Klaus Schwab, a former professor at the University of Geneva and patron of the Swiss event that has become a successful venture. Extensive program for a capitalism that lives on the stock market from wavering, sad passions. Schwabs is an invocation of Moira, the force that stands above the will of the gods. The predictions remain grim about neoliberal globalization, the deity celebrated since 1971 on these Swiss heights where Thomas Mann designed the landscape for his Magic Mountain.

IN THIS SESSION This year, 2,800 business people and 60 heads of state will take part. A blockbuster that is as spectacular as it is politically ornamental. Davos is neither a G7 nor a board of directors, even though it attracts a lot of attention. Rather, it is a financial roadshow in which French President Emmanuel Macron will sell his “start-up nation” to attract foreign investment to France. Or where the latest tool of the most reactionary neoliberalism, Argentine President Javier Milei, will ask for support to obtain the $4.7 billion announced by the International Monetary Fund and in return will offer the massacre of the welfare state.

Fear and loathing at the Edelweiss Hotel in Davos, an imposing hotel from 1900, where the “World Economic Forum” will reflect thoughtfully on the consequences of the atrocities in the conflicts in the Middle East or in Ukraine, which provoked the attacks on ships in the Red Sea Bombings in Yemen left the US and Britain worried about Western wallets. We will also talk about a report from the International Monetary Fund on artificial intelligence. A classic digital disaster for adults and children. It is expected to affect “60%” of jobs in “advanced economies” and will widen the gap between those who earn the most and those who earn the least. The latter is more than a prophecy, it is already a reality. What would be necessary is the desire to destroy the online oligarchs who live off the digital work of each of us. But this will is missing.

IN THE MEDIA CIRCUS Where the political stars converge to attract paying attendees, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will vacillate in the next few days between a bilateral conversation with Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang, a bilateral conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Blinken and others another with Ukrainian President Zelensky. The latter will talk about his conditions for peace. “A conversation as an end in itself that will not lead to any result without us,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Brazil insists on setting up a negotiating table between Ukraine and Russia. President Lula saves himself the trip to the Alps and supports the proposals of the BRICS countries such as South Africa and India. However, in the “piecemeal world war” puzzle, Turkey will boycott Davos. Erdogan did not like the position of its organizers on Israel's war against Hamas.

ON THE SNOWY SET The sun-drenched traffic was recently interrupted by environmental activists who accused the forum's speaking elite of being dangerously complacent about the risks and inequalities created by the “greenwashing” of fossil capitalism. One of the demonstrators' signs read: “Wef, Wtf?”, i.e.: “World Economic Forum, what the fuck?” Translation is not necessary, the slogan is universal. Al Gore told Bloomberg the rest: “Some countries do not want to honor the fossil fuel commitment made at the Cop28 summit.”

ON START DAY of the Swiss Convivium, the NGO Oxfam published the report on “Multinational companies and multiple inequalities”. Its director Amitabh Behar spoke of “obscene inequalities”. Amitabh Behar. The wealth of the world's five richest billionaires, including Amazon's Jeff Bezos, has more than doubled since 2020, from $405 billion to $869 billion. In contrast, the wealth of the poorest 60% of humanity has not grown. In Italy, another “Disuguitalia” report (we talk about it below) found that at the end of 2022, the richest 1% had 84 times more wealth than that of the poorest 20% of the population, whose share of wealth halved nationwide in one Year. In a decade the world could have its first trillionaire. It will not be fun because big companies will increase their profits while wages are halved today by inflation. The trust they seek in Davos is actually impossible. It was destroyed by greed.