Global inequality greater than ever

As of next year one percent of the world will possess more than the other 99 percent, according to a study published Monday by the British charity organisation Oxfam. Growing inequality leads to more serious conflicts even in industrial nations, commentators warn. But they hope that the World Economic Forum in Davos will be the first step to more equality.

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De Morgen (BE) /

Fairness not just a crazy idea of the left

Wealth and assets need to be more heavily taxed in the industrialised nations of the West, the left-liberal daily De Morgen demands: "But in the eyes of the liberals this is entirely the wrong approach and only an expression of a mentality of envy. That's odd. Because of all people US President Obama, who is certainly not a representative of the extreme left, will call for precisely this in his State of the Union address: a tax on capital gains for the richest one percent of society in favour of the disappearing middle class. ... This has nothing to do with envy but with a fairer distribution of wealth and assets which could lead to a society that is safer and offers a higher quality of life. And incidentally it's not just the left that sees growing inequality as a major threat for the future but also pretty much all the leading thinkers, industrialists and economists who are gathering to celebrate their high mass in Davos this week."

Delo (SI) /

Inequality dangerous but growing nonetheless

The participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos won't campaign for a fairer world, the left-liberal daily Delo comments, and points out that this is regrettable given that poverty radicalises: "This is slowly dawning even on those who will fly to the Swiss resort of Davos in private jets and helicopters on Wednesday. ... But even though the fear of the dangerous consequences of inequality is already present among them it's unlikely that they'll bring the rich to book for evading taxes. It's also unlikely that capital will be taxed more heavily than labour, that the minimum wage will be increased or that public services will be improved, as Oxfam demands, even though the growing inequality is already causing the first conflicts in Europe."

Duma (BG) /

Time for a revolution

Only a revolution can counter today's inequalities, the socialist daily Duma writes with an eye to the Oxfam study: "Poverty and inequality are taboo topics for most Bulgarian media, analysts, and especially politicians. Sure, they go on and on about one 'priority' or another, extravagant aid projects subsidised with money from abroad, but no one talks about an integral, holistic policy for combating inequality. That's because the political system itself promotes inequality. ... It may sound cynical, but the rich aren't to blame for the fact that they live off the backs of the poor. The problem is that they aren't able to find adequate mechanisms for fighting inequality. Because just the opposite happens. That's why it's time for a revolution. Seriously: history knows no other way of filling in such huge gaps."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Davos can be a start

A growing lack of trust in politics, the media and business and a world rife with conflict: just getting together and talking against such a background fully justifies the meeting in Davos, the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: "For years now we've known in advance what people will say when all is said and done: All talk and no action, a forum for business contacts, a circus of the vanities. ... But that's just a small part of the truth. Nowhere else do so many representatives from the worlds of politics, science, business and the arts meet in such close quarters to discuss the state of the world. That's valuable in itself. People cross paths, shake hands. What can be more valuable, especially in a world where long-standing ties are coming undone? A few days in Davos aren't enough to heal the excesses and greed of managers or the wrongdoings of politicians. But believing that things can improve is a first step along the way."