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Jenny Ricks: Is the World tired of the World Economic Forum?

May 24, 2022

By Annisa Essack
23:05:2022

Since the last time top politicians, billionaires and CEOs gathered in the Swiss mountain village of Davos to discuss the world’s biggest problems and pitch their solutions to them, the Coronavirus pandemic was a blip on the radar for all countries other than China, the European economy was humming, and the war between Ukraine and Russia was probably only a shadow of a plan in the mind of Putin.

But two years later, the world turned topsy-turvy as the COVID-19 pandemic touched every continent, and Russia invaded Ukraine. But for the elite and powerful attending Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, very little, except their bank balances, has changed. The rest of the world has felt the economic squeeze, and inequality rose astronomically for the first time in decades.

Jenny Ricks of the Fight Inequality Alliance spoke on Radio Islam International and said most people had not missed it as most were busy trying to survive the economic downfall whilst enduring unimaginable loss of family, friends and colleagues.

More glaring was that these brought unprecedented inequality as, globally, citizens tried to manage after job losses and meagre government assistance whilst food and fuel prices shot through the roof. But Davos, she says, remains “almost tone-deaf” to the issues faced by the ordinary man.

She pointed out that these forums, whether Davos or locally held meetings, made little impact, referring to the fact that the World Economic Forum has been running for 51 years. Still, inequality has spiralled to levels never seen this century.

According to a report from Oxfam published in January, Rick said that billionaires added trillions to their fortunes during the pandemic, while millions more people worldwide were pushed into extreme poverty as the global economy shut down. Many struggling households became reliant on emergency government support.

She warned that South Africans should not look to Davos for solutions to their issues, as the policymakers perpetuate the policies driving inequalities in our countries.

According to Rick, the solutions are with those who have experienced the inequalities, the youth, women and the unemployed. They should ensure that they urge our government to listen to them.

She says the global protests by Fight Inequality Alliance this week are to put forth the solutions the rich don’t want to deal with at Davos. Solutions like wealth taxes for major corporations, the pushing back on austerity policies that choke our public service spending and basic income grants which would be of more assistance to the less privileged.

Davos, she says, “should be used to challenge the elite and push for more radical solutions rather would make a difference.” Risk also eluded that citizens should demand accountability from their leaders who attended Davos. A country’s economic decisions should be taken in the country’s democratic structures, and global financial decisions should be dealt with in legitimate rather than unaccountable forums like Davos.

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