Something Comes out of Davos 2010

The World Economic Forum is usually just a bunch of rich people gathering in Switzerland to go to dinner and play out their (truly) care free lifestyle while mingling about minor economic issues that might affect them.  Many of these people have little knowledge, due to ignorance, of what is actually going on in the world.  Half of the participants are business leaders who likely DO know what is going on in the world, in the same sense that Bernanke knows what is going on in the Fed and Ban-Ki Moon knows what is going on in the UN Secretariat: they are running the show.  

But the others, government representatives and especially journalists, basically don't.  They think, often unconsciously, that the rest of the world is basically like them, upper class Americans.  Off course they know at least 80% of the world is very poor, but this fact is not in their calculation.  It is from this assumption, that they accept other "party lines" and official dogmas, including the motives of U.S. policy makers, definitions of terms such as "Globalization", "Anti-Globalization", "Free Trade", and the effects of neoliberalism.  

So what are the effects of neoliberalism?  Adam Smith, the cult hero of so-called free market philosophers, said that the "Principle Architects of Policy", in his day merchants and manufacturers, in our day, multinational corporations and their confederates, pursue policies no matter how grievous their effects on others, whether the people of England(or United States) or the people who where subject to the savage injustice of the Europeans.  His depiction of England and the world system in the 1700s is remarkably similar to the geopolitical system today.  

At that time, the United States, which declared independence the same year he wrote those words in his magnum opus, An Inquiry into the Causes and Nature of The Wealth of Nations, had health, social and literacy standards, among other important social indicators, that where better than those of the UPPER CLASS in Britain until the second world war.  Think about that.  This huge advantage, huge gap, as well as huge advantages in GDP, despite not being a world power where maintained until World War II.  After World War II, while the gap began to close, the U.S. dominated these standards more or less until the late seventies/early eighties when neoliberalism arrived.  These economically rational policies took centuries of these amazing advantages and in thirty years drove the U.S. to the bottom of the industrial world in every category except GDP.  Even in GDP, the European Union is by far larger than the United States, without setting world trade policies or having an empire like the United States and without taking an independent path which would increase it.  The individual states are also better in every social indicator, and the EU achieved this GDP working basically 30 hour weeks(not the case in the U.S.), with less damage to the environment and so on.  

So this is a VERY remarkable decline, to say the least.  I would say these are grievous effects on the U.S..  Well, some people got very rich off these policies.  This is the top 1%, which is a pyramid within a pyramid.  The next 19% or so has a cell phone that makes pancakes so nobody complains.  The top 39-1% all think they will be the top 1% within the next year or so.  The bottom 60% are too busy/poor to do anything.  

The effects on people elsewhere are worse.  This is the area known as "the South" or the "Third World".  What happens in the world is not an accident, there is no such thing as an accident.  It is planned.  The people who pursue these policies know what will happen, maybe they don't like Children starving, but they don't care.  

This brings me to Bill Gates, who announced at the World Economic Forum that he is giving 10 billion dollars to help fight disease in the third world, which basically exceeds effective public money delivered by major powers.  This is not what comes out of the World Economic Forum.  What comes out of it is the point that these major world crisis, such as poverty and disease are being tackled with greater aggression by a billionaire philanthropist then by rich countries or even the UN, regardless of whether or not anyone points this out.  

Tags: World Economic Forum, Davos, Bill Gates, Poverty (all tags)


1 Comment

Bill Gates said that he learned about giving from his father.

And now he is doing it full time. Now if we could only get the fathers of other rich people to give, we might actually conquer poverty and disease. Wealthy countries like the US and the UN, it seems, have failed miserably.

by MainStreet 2010-01-30 01:20PM | 0 recs


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