Davos: working for the few?

colchester-vineyard-davosCoinciding with the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Oxfam has published figures (Working for the Few) showing that:

  • Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
  • The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
  • Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.

The WEF is sponsored by those who are the beneficiaries in these figures, so it is hard to imagine that the ‘Davos Men’ are about to make any radical changes to the way the world is run.

A look at Forbes’ lists of the powerful and rich will help illustrate how power is moving away from elected governments to globalised corporations, while strengthening the hands of tyrants and criminals.

According to Forbes, Vladimir Putin is the most powerful man in the world. However, in spite of his rating, one suspects that the man himself is not so sure, as he imprisons a protester with mental disability.

Even if this one percent elite really wanted to change things for the better, could they? The weird thing about the world is that the people at the top of anything are often the most out-of-touch people. Like the Roman emperors who had no idea that one poor man in an unfashionable corner of the empire would eventually turn their empire, and the world, upside down.

Should we hope for anything good to come out of Davos? It’s hard to be positive and, surely, the name is far to close to that of the mad Dalek emperor Davros to be taken very seriously.

Change that really benefits ordinary people, giving them honour and nobility, usually comes from the bottom, from those who value people for their own sake, and not as consumers, nor as cogs in a productivity system.

We believe that weakness in the world’s estimation can be disruptively powerful. Jesus’s mum Mary sang a little song, part of which went like this:

“His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.”

And we, the weak, are invited to join this disruptive project.