Editorial: Elites, democrats, and inequalities
The global economic, political, and business elite is gathering these days in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the present and future of the world economy, in a climate of general optimism.
The economic crisis seems a thing of the past. The global economy is growing at faster rates than projected, even a few months ago, and investors are seeking places to deposit their inexhaustible capital.
Yet, the picture is not as idyllic as it seems. Global wealth is growing, of course, but inequalities are growing in tandem.
When the richest one percent controls 50.1 percent of global wealth, compared to 42.5 percent in 2008, it is clear that something is awry.
We are not speaking of the poorest portion of the planet, in other words the 3.2 billion people who hold just 2.7 percent of global wealth.
Even in the most economically developed countries, in Europe and the US, inequalities are widening, labour insecurity is expanding, and the once all-powerful social state is being pared back, in the name of competition with China and India.
As a result, we are witnessing the revival of extreme nationalist and populist movements, which exploit the insecurity and uncertainty of citizens.
It is no coincidence that the explosion of inequalities, harms mainly the younger generation, which sees the gap in the standard of living between themselves and previous generations growing. Naturally, there are exceptions, mainly for those who can exploit technological advances and present innovative ideas.
A segment of the international political leadership recognises the problem, at least in word, but it is incapable of managing it in practice.
As long as they do not understand that enormous inequalities create an explosive backdrop, they are undermining their own future. They tolerate the continual degradation of politics and politicians, and leave fertile ground for untrammeled and dangerous demagogues to flower.
The last thing the world needs right now to increase the wave of ruthless and dangerous demagogues, whom we see increasing in number at alarming rates.