Economic inequality tops the list of global risks, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said Wednesday, just ahead of a global week of action that aims to fight the wealth gap crisis.
The pronouncement from the WEF comes via its new Global Risks Report, issued before a "parody-defying event"—its annual gathering Davos, Switzerland—"to create the correct veneer of earnest contemplation," as one observer puts it.
But with the global group's focus of sustaining economic growth and a list of corporate backers like BP and Nestlé, as well as the fact that "the more the elites at Davos seem to contemplate our global great divide, the more global wealth seems to concentrate in fewer pockets," a new effort is hoping to address the root causes of inequality head-on.
Stating that it "bear[s] witness to the devastating impacts of an unjust economic system in the lives of people around the world, and on the climate," the Fight Inequality Alliance will use the week of January 14, during which the Davos forum also takes place, to illustrate "the world we want."
Taking action on the wealth gap is needed, the coalition's site states, as
The global inequality crisis is reaching new extremes and undermining global efforts to end poverty, discrimination and marginalization, advance women's rights, defend the environment, protect human rights and democracy, prevent conflict, and promote fair and dignified employment. Given the nature and scale of the crisis, a more concerted response is needed.
Among other things, it's calling for governments to:
- Take concrete action to close the gap between the richest 1% and the rest of society.
- Reject market fundamentalism and build sustainable and fair economic alternatives that put human rights and the planet ahead of profit.
- Make wealthy corporations and individuals pay their fair share of tax.
- Reject the privatization of essential services and build strong, accountable, and transparent public sectors that ensure social protection for all.
The alliance is also encouraging people to follow the effort using the hashtag #FightInequality on Facebook and Twitter.