Look at 1% performance now, and tell me the system isn’t rigged | Nasreen Malik

sYou may have forgotten by now, but there was a brief moment during the pandemic when hopes were raised for “Roar 20 secondsProfessor of Sociology at Yale University Nicholas Christakis He predicted that as in the 1920s, after the Spanish flu of 1918, society would accept leniency, with an increase in “sexual immorality” as well as a “reversal of religiosity”. We were ready to come out of the Randy and Flush lockdown. Certainly we were not to indulge, as we did in Britain, in political crises and strikes, to have three prime ministers in the course of several months, and to sit at home too little to be able to turn on the heating or socialize.

But the Roaring Twenties do happen, just not to most of us. to me Oxfam The annual inequality report, released to coincide with the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos, has the richest 1% of people acquiring nearly twice as much new wealth as the rest of the world combined since the pandemic. their wealth increased by $26 trillionand increase their share of the new wealth from 50% to two-thirds.

Breaking down these numbers reveals how vast wealth can be accumulated on a global basis not through innovation or increased production, but through taking advantage of rising prices and exploitation of labour. In this effort, the wealthy are empowered by the lack of regulation and taxation. The result is a wealth of loot with no sheriff in town.

This has been happening for a while, but the pandemic has accelerated the trend. The rich have benefited from everything – every positive state intervention and negative impact of the crisis in some way still increases their wealth. They took advantage of the rising costs by using them as an excuse to charge Prices are higher than inflation, and then distribute bonuses as dividends instead of higher wages. Food and energy companies killed, Reaping 306 billion dollars In a windfall dividend in 2022, then distribute 84% to shareholders.

They have benefited from stimulus packages that have pushed up asset prices. They benefited from lower interest rates which helped them expand their real estate empires. according to For Credit Suisse, lower interest rates and government support programs have resulted in a “massive transfer” of wealth from the public sector to private households, reducing their debt and increasing the value of their assets, stocks and property.

The obscenity of the regime was made possible by the greatly diminished negotiating work force. Weak labor is cheap labour. More profitably, workers of the world can be increasingly mobilized according to the specific needs of their employers, so that not a penny is lost. The purpose is to turn the human operator into a machine that can be turned off when not in use (although the machines are at least subject to maintenance). In 2020, Amazon UK sales rose by half, to £19.4 billion. In 2021, A.J Investigation In Britain, the company found that the company was exceeding its hiring standards by hiring thousands of zero-hours workers through agencies. These workers have no job protections, their shifts can be canceled at the last minute, and there is no guarantee of tenure.

Rugeley Amazon Shipping Center in Staffordshire.
Amazon fulfillment center in Staffordshire. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

But successful tax evasion is the strongest pillar of global inequality, and dismantling it would be the quickest solution. There is little chance of that happening soon. Tax systems, like much of the conventional economic wisdom about the benefits of wealth creation for all, are increasingly aligned not just with the needs of the poor, but with what is needed for the health of our economies. The political class has been taken over by the outdated ideology of a graduated economy. And if any of these politicians have dissenting ideas and consider raising taxes, the financial elites threaten to flee with their fortunes, or protest that their entrepreneurial ambitions will be extinguished. The media’s framing of redistributive policies as radical or destructive is also a powerful shock. Found Oxfam That 143 of 161 countries have already frozen tax rates for the wealthy during the pandemic, and 11 have cut them.

Most striking about the post-pandemic earnings boom is the truly global nature of the problem. It is not only the hope of a world recalibrated by Covid towards stronger public infrastructure that is turning to dust in our mouths. And an older dream is also dying: the post-Cold War globalization that was supposed to bring us all closer, leading to a utopia of free trade, growth, employment, and sustainable development. What this model of globalization has achieved is standardizing the ways for the rich to pay as little as possible, focusing economic activity on those with purchasing power and hanging the rest out to dry. Our lives are already becoming more similar all over the world. In the Global South, the wealthy now have access to the same consumer goods and services, from Netflix to Vitamix, and live in newly built developments with names like Beverly Hills (Cairo), and Bel Air (Nairobi). The poor are being pushed to the margins, dismantling the public services they depend on.

None of this happened by accident, according to Peter Goodman, author of The Davos Man: How Billionaires Devoured the World. It is no accident, he told me, that our economies have concentrated more wealth in fewer hands. Quite simply, the wealthy have used their wealth to buy democracy, distort democracy in their own interests. They have done so through a global model that includes cutting taxes and privatizing earlier public attempts to deal with problems. rumor, filtering out spending that went to things like social services, and then putting that money into their own pockets.” The main strength of the billionaire class, Goodman says, is their creation of values, not value, which maintains a friendly political climate. Davos, he says, is “a safeguard against change, an articulate reinforcement of the status quo that has served as the pursuit of human progress.”

But the differences are becoming too stark for these brands’ efforts to operate as they used to. Even right-wing politicians are beginning to point out that the promise of social mobility is no longer there. Last week, in a speech that sounded very much like the notes of someone awakened from a decades-long slumber, the British government minister, Penny Mordaunt He said that “a lot of people think things aren’t working, at least for them,” adding that “for those with the slightest bit, it can look like the whole system is rigged against them.”

So close and at the same time so far away. system no seem to be rigged. It’s fake. I think it’s a step in the right direction that terms that in the past would have carried a speaker into a pile of conspiracy theorists and sheikhs are making their way into the mainstream. Mordaunt went further. “The survival and success of capitalism hangs in the balance,” she said. But for the small, powerful minority who own half the world’s wealth, this type of capitalism works better than ever. What hangs in the balance, as billionaires’ fortunes increase, is their ability to say it works in our favor, too.

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