Davos Billionaires: Oblivious to the Coming Revolution

Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Economy with 0 Comments
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Bill Gates

Bill Gates

Paul B. Farrell| Marketwatch | Jan 27th 2014

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — The world looks different from rarified altitude of a billionaire. Especially if you’re one of the 85 richest who control more wealth than the 3.5 billion poorest.

You guys already own half the planet. Keep up the good work, getting richer, by the end of this century your family could be one of the world’s 11 trillionaires predicted in the new Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report. Capitalism is the ticket to owning everything.

Cruising at 51,000 feet, Mach 0.85 in your $40 million Gulfstream jet, you know the world belongs to you. A few days at the World Economic Forum in historic Davos, Europe’s highest city, high in the Swiss Alps, and your world seemed even bigger. Roots in the Higher Middle Ages. Fabulous ski resort.

Davos is mostly about business contacts, meeting other powerful capitalists, great PR and i-photo ops walking among world leaders, in seminars, at meals, over drinks, just mingling with the 2,500 participants — all the captains of industry, central bankers, heads of state, thought leaders and celebrity economists, maybe even listening to actor Matt Damon talking about his Water.org or attending a mindful meditation session with Goldie Hawn.

But bottom line: for 1,500 business and financial types at Davos, many whose firms are permanent members, just one new contact can justify the quarter million often spent belonging to the exclusive Davos Forum. Yes, up at their altitude, the world really does looks different.

Billionaires aren’t ‘Curious Capitalists,’ they just want to make more money

The truth is, for 43 years Davos has been a private club for capitalists that has had more to do with increasing economic inequality than any other global organization. Here’s how a real “Curious Capitalist,” as Time’s editor, Rana Foroohar, sees it from ground level mingling with world leaders, gathering quotes, interviewing and blogging, to get answers to “The 5 Most Important Questions for the Davos Elite”:

  • Is U.S. economic recovery for real?
  • Will China’s economy blow up?
  • Is technology a friend or an enemy?
  • Who wins, millennials vs. baby boomers?
  • What will the political impact of inequality be?

Actually, only one of these five questions has the potential of triggering catastrophic long-term consequences: Economic inequality. The other four, while significant, are all what mathematicians call dependent functions of the inequality equation that’s impacting technology, generational conflicts and the economies of China and America.

In fact, a cultural revolution is creating a new global collective conscience between capitalism and inequality, the Haves and the Have-nots.

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