The Gods of Davos Have Spoken

Despite protestations to the contrary, the Gods are not interested in any of its proclaimed stakeholders, be it labor, the environment, or climate change.

As they did in 2007, they still sing the same old tired tunes, blindly pursuing profits at the expense of the health of the globe and of its citizens.

In the World Economic Forum of 2007, Professor Klaus Schwab, proudly announced:

“In today’s increasingly interconnected and complex world….Climate change…all require a coordinated approach, one in which different stakeholders collaborate across geographical boundaries, geographical, industrial…boundaries

“…the need of business not only to serve its shareholders but also its stakeholders–all whose future depends directly or indirectly on business decisions….I have defined this new dimension for responsible business–or “creative capitalism” as our member Bill Gates called it in Davos this year–as Corporate Global Citizenship.”
[italics mine] WEF Annual Report 2007-2008

Not to be outdone by Professor Schwab, Sandra Pianalto, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve bank of Cleveland, predicted a very rosy future just before the crash of 2008:

“Financial innovation has clearly benefited consumers by driving down costs. Since 1985, initial fees for conventional mortgage loads had fallen from roughly 2.5 per cent of the loan balance to about 0.5 per cent. Another big advantage is choice. A few decades ago, people were offered just one or two different mortgage products, but now they can choose from among multiple instruments and payback structures. Finally, consumers benefit from faster loan decisions today”

Workers as Stakeholders
Income Inequality

Are the gods really interested in inequality? Just who are these workers who are stakeholders?

After 2008, the meek and the mild bailed out the banks, banks which then gave handsome bonuses to its own stakeholders, to the very stakeholders that guided us into ever greater income inequality. If workers are stakeholders, they have been staked through their hearts, bleeding more and more dollars to the likes of Bezos and other CEOs.

Walmart and Amazon describe their nearly slave labor force as “Associates,” a term I am sure makes impaled workers swell with pride. CEOs have even signed public letters confessing that their slaves matter as much to them as do their shareholders. “Eyes on the floor,” workers. “Smile with pride at your new equality. But run a little faster, if you will.”

Walmart workers earned a median wage of $19,177 last year. Walmart CEO Doug McMillan earned $22.8 million. Amazon workers did slightly better, earning a median wage of $28,446 in 2017. Bezos,  garnered $40 billion. And I dare not look at the health plan that Amazon and Walmart provide.

An English company, Standard Toilet, has designed a slanted toilet seat–a real billionaire breakthrough, designed to provide enough worker discomfort that workers will hurry back to ever greater profits for their lords and masters. I wonder if Bezos will install one in his new $165 million dollar home, just to get the feel of it.

To calm our anger, many libertarian economists cite average incomes. But, of course, massive salaries at the top simply skew the average magnificently upward. Remember: half of the workers earn less than the median.

 

Climate Change and Environmental Destruction
Oil and Venezuela
The Real Stakeholders

Thunberg and Gore were ornaments at Davos, false badges of caring and virtue. Banks will not stop investing in oil, nor will they advise their clients to do so. Head of the World Bank, David Malpass, has increase production for funding of oil and coal. Davos 2020 thinkers are just as blind as those in 2007. Like Sandra Pianalto, banks cannot see beyond immediate profit. Science be damned. The only stakeholders are those supporting and controlling the production of oil.

According to Urgwald,

“a review of public project documents available on line in the World Bank’s, IFC’s and MIGA’s project databases…WBG’s active energy project finances significantly favors fossil fuets over renewable energy-$21 billion to $7 billion…In recent lending trends (FY14-FY2018), the WBG approved over $12 billion for fossil fuel projects compared to a little over $5 billion for renewable energy….”

In the middle of an economic forum, we hear a speech that is undeniably political, a speech intended to bring down the duly elected leader of Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro. Frankly, I find such a speech in the middle of an economic forum astonishing. A word or two is appropriate about his claims, as well as the claims of his supporters.

Guaidó claims to be president. Unfortunately for him, he was not elected.

When introducing Guaidó, Marisol Argueta de Barillas tells us that 60 countries recognize him as the president. That fact is unfortunate for three reasons: 1) those countries do not have a vote in Venezuelan elections; 2) there are at least 196 countries in the world, quite a few not in Guaidó’s column; and 3) the U.N. recognizes Maduro as President.

The question then is: Why the interest in overthrowing a duly elected leader? Claims of authoritarian dictatorship ring hollow. Ruled by royalty, Saudi Arabia has one of the most abysmal human rights record in the world. Yet not a peep from the U.S. and its allies.

Quite simply, the U.S., Canada, Britain are cruelly sanctioning Venezuela to bring about a coup. Why?

Oil. Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, more than Saudi Arabia.

In giving Guaidó an important political platform, the gods of Devos have clearly spoken.

Oil is their priority. Not climate change. Not environmental destruction. And certainly not the rise in income inequality. Behold, the real stakeholders remain.

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