Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Davos elites warn of "perfect global storm" threat

Listening to the ConDems lecturing the low-waged and unemployed about “fairness” as they cut their state benefits when measured against inflation, reinforces the view of a government at war with ordinary people while protecting the rich and powerful.

The policy adds weight to the contents of the latest edition of Global Risks, which the World Economic Forum produces each year before the world’s ruling elites gather at Davos to try and reshape the world in their image.

At the centre of its concerns are the prospects of loss of confidence in government leadership and the threat of increasing unrest as inequality widens. With the ConDems held in contempt by large sections in society, and Labour presenting itself as Coalition Lite, the WEF is right to be concerned.

The report was published on the day that European Union joblessness reached a new record high. Youth unemployment in Spain has passed 56%. No wonder Global Risks says that a eurozone meltdown cannot be ruled out.

The report is a 80-page crystallisation of responses from “1,000 experts from industry, government, academia and civil society who were asked to review a landscape of 50 global risks”. Presented in the language of systems theory, the results are sobering:

“Continued stress on the global economic system is positioned to absorb the attention of leaders for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, the Earth’s environmental system is simultaneously coming under increasing stress. Future simultaneous shocks to both systems could trigger the ‘perfect global storm’, with potentially insurmountable consequences.”

Just like any membership organisation, the WEF’s over-riding concern is for the impact these threats will have on the prosperity of its members. So who are they, what does the WEF do for them, and what is it that they see as being under threat?

The WEF ranks high in the organisations through which the collective needs of the global corporations are brought together to influence the thoughts and actions of the rich and powerful and through them to guide the work of the world’s governments.

It’s A-Z lists of strategic and industry partners comprise the big players in every industry from ABB, one of the world's leading engineering companies to Zurich Insurance Group, a leading insurance provider with a global network of subsidiaries.

The WEF runs several highly sophisticated and well-funded “global leadership programmes. Its has a forum of 200 to 300 “Young Global Leaders”.  A Network of Global Agenda Councils of over 1,500 “premier thought leaders” commit their “extensive knowledge, expertise and passion to jointly shape the global, regional and industry agenda”. 

Academia isn’t left out. As well as The Knowledge Advisory Group (KAG) - senior administrators, provosts or vice-presidents who have been nominated by their university to participate – the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF) is a community comprising of 25–30 heads of top global universities. 

All of these “communities” are brought together every year at Davos. Their task this year is to consider how to mitigate the effects of the major risks – to somehow find a way of using these risks to increase profitability for themselves. Their collective enterprise is recognition of the need for them to band together to protect the integrity of the capitalist system of production, distribution and exchange.

This is how the global ruling class works. They think, analyse, develop plans and strategies, lobby and line up political proxies to put into practice what the WEF considers necessary. What the WEF tells us is that  global, collective analysis and decision-making is crucial if not critical.

While the WEF plots and plans we would do well to do the same because change isn’t going to happen otherwise. Much can be learned from the techniques the WEF deploy, not just to counteract the power of the capitalist elites but to replace it with a community of peoples and their interests.

Gerry Gold
Economics editor

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