Making it Happen in Davos!
UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings challenges Davos to come together: “Another world is possible”
22 January 2018, Davos: Jennings' message to Davos Woman and Davos Man is that they must not be distracted by the presence of Trump but instead come together to find a cure for the wealth distribution disease.
Jennings said, “The issue is not wealth creation, but a wealth distribution in cardiac arrest. The arteries to jobs, wages, health and education are blocked. Since the 2008 financial crisis we have continued to binge on gross inequality and now the patient is on a life support-system. The disease of wealth distribution is at the heart of the fractured world. Davos must address this issue and not be diverted by the arrival of the Trump circus in town.
“Mr Trump, you are the deal-breaker not the deal-maker. Take a deep breath of Davos mountain air and change your mind. Change your mind on the Wall, the 800,000 Dreamers with their futures in your hands, Climate Change and every other issue where you are out of tune with the world. This is 2018 not 2008 or 1988. Your policies are out of step. Show Davos that the United States is still a responsible global partner and that the ‘Land of the Free’, is working for democracy and peace, not conflict and war.”
Addressing the illusion that Trump had somehow delivered on the economy in his first year in office, Jennings said, “Mr Trump is the flag-bearer or ‘Exhibit A’ of our fractured world. He boasts about stock market highs, but this wealth goes to the Wall Street wolves and does not raise the quality of the life of U.S workers. This shareholder culture has spread like a virus across the world and is stifling wage growth, by boosting dividends and buybacks for the 1% at the expense of working people. Financialisation of the economy is causing a seismic crack which threatens the social stability of the world.
“A prime example is Trump’s corporate giveaway shrouded as tax reform. In the ten days after the bill passed the Senate, companies announced $70.2 billion in stock buybacks, and there will be more to come. By starving the country’s social safety net, this bill will undermine the U.S. economy, and take from the poor to give to the rich. This is the distribution disease in spades.
“Davos must not be diverted from the opportunity to provide a platform to find solutions to heal our fractured world. The collective message from the mountain top to Trump must be that ‘America First’ does not stand up, not even for the American people. Trump is in danger of aping the ‘greed is good’ mantra of Gordon Gekko in the 80s. Peace and democracy are being eclipsed by a model of globalisation based on corporate greed tearing up the social contract. We must change the rules of the game.
“The World Economic Forum’s own Risks Report highlights how rising income and wealth disparity are ripping the fabric of society. The Report also underlines how the digital revolution threatens mass unemployment if it left in the hands of a small number of giant data companies. Companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon are digital wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. They wield monopolistic-level control over their sectors and our data, and we’ve seen them prioritize profits and polarisation over people and planet. The same can be said for the coming wave of Artificial Intelligence. We must be wise—with humans in control not the ‘digi-capitalists’ —in how we use this technology. Big Tech’s monopoly power is a threat to democracy and this is what Davos must concentrate on rather than the Trump distraction.
“Davos must focus its attention on all these issues and not the Diverter-in-Chief, Donald Trump. If the President wants to set an example of American leadership, he must roll up his sleeves and pump some life-blood into wealth distribution, through the vital signs of jobs, wages, health and education and show finally he is capable of international statesmanship.”
Note to Editor:
Philip Jennings, UNI Global Union General Secretary, will participate at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos from 23 to 26 January 2018. Mr Jennings will speak at several sessions, including, « Can We Live with Monopolies » 15:00 – 15 :30, Tuesday 23 January in the Media Village, Issue Briefing Room
For interviews or further questions, please contact:
Ingrid Helsingen Warner