How a small number of large corporations could save humanity
According to the latest Oxfam report on income distribution, which was presented at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, the rich continue to get richer. This is nothing new, but it does have some important implications. If 82% of the wealth created last year went to the richest 1%, it means that we are destroying the Earth in order to satisfy the cravings of a small number of very rich people.
The WEF is a fairly unique gathering of the rich and powerful. Assuming a meritocratic society, where wealth and power are somehow correlated to talent, it must be an assembly of enormous ability, with real power to change the world. Unfortunately, it has failed so far. Since its founding in 1971, carbon emissions have continued to increase, the natural environment has continued to deteriorate, and the wealthy have gotten wealthier.
Maybe the time has come to admit that the capitalists have won. Through a combination of deregulation and globalization, the top 1% of the world’s population has accumulated so much wealth, that they literally own the world. They also have the means to fix it.
This is not meant as a joke: A small number of CEOs and investors have the power to decide over the future of humanity. If they want to, they can limit global warming and ensure a more peaceful and equal world. If not, their greed will finish off humanity.
Here is a plan:
- The fossil fuel companies agree to pay a fee proportional to the carbon content of the fuel they sell to a global charity.
- The money from this charity is distributed equally among all people of the world.
Such a system could easily be organized by the worlds business leaders, especially from the fossil fuel and financial sectors. Some IT and telecom companies might be necessary to ensure that the money reaches even the poorest in the world. It would immediately lead to higher fossil fuel prices – thereby reducing demand – and less income inequality.
The World Economic Forum is committed to improving the state of the world. One way of doing so would be to stop talking and start acting. There is nothing preventing large corporations from doing good if they want to.
Addendum: Bottom Line for Davos Elite: Trump Is Good for Business, New York Times, January 24, 2018.