Participants are silhouetted against a picture of the planet Earth on a giant screen during a panel session on the closing day of the 47th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Laurent Gillieron/dpa via AP) (AP)

Robert Reich: The fall of Davos man

The annual confab of the captains of global industry, finance, and wealth is underway in Davos, Switzerland


Robert Reich
January 24, 2019 9:00AM (UTC)
This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog.

The annual confab of the captains of global industry, finance, and wealth is underway in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum.

Meanwhile, Oxfam reports that the wealth of the 2,200 billionaires across the globe increased by $900 billion last year — or $2.5 billion a day. Their 12 percent increase in wealth contrasts with a drop of 11 percent in the wealth of the bottom half of the people of the world. In fact, the world’s 26 richest billionaires now own as much as the 3.8 billion who comprise the bottom half of the planet’s population.

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If Davos’s attendees ignore all this, and blame the rise of right-wing populism around the globe on racism fueled by immigrants from the Middle East and from Central America, they’re deluding themselves.

The real source of the rise of repressive authoritarianism, nativism, and xenophobia in the United States as well as Italy, Spain, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, Bulgaria, Greece, France, and Britain is a pervasive sense that elites are rigging the world economy for themselves. And, guess what? They are.

Message to Davos Man (and Women): Either commit to pushing for broader prosperity and democracy, or watch as trade wars, capital controls, and isolationism erode global prosperity (including yours) and global peace.


Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."

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