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Guest Post: Davos Shocked To Hear That Poor People Exist

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Submitted by Finance Addict

Davos Shocked To Hear That Poor People Exist

Ok, I exaggerate. But that’s my cynical first impression after finding the following diagram in the briefing book for the gathering of the good and the great at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (Click for a larger size.)


Source: World Economic Forum

As you can see “Severe income disparity” is #1 on the Top 5 risks list this year, after having failed to make the short list for the preceding 5 years.

Now it’s not as though the attendees of Davos were completely inattentive to the economic plight of the less fortunate all this time. “Economic disparities” was on last year’s laundry list of risks and was featured prominently in the executive summary of 2011's report. But the urgency has been ratcheted up quite a bit this year: note the new modifier “severe” and the use of the more specific “income” rather than “economic”. But wait, there’s more.

Compare 2011's anodyne language:

the benefits of globalization seem unevenly spread – a minority is seen to have harvested a disproportionate amount of the fruits. Although growth of the new champions is rebalancing economic power between countries, there is evidence that economic disparity within countries is growing.

with this year’s:

Dystopia, the opposite of a utopia, describes a place where life is full of hardship and devoid of hope. Analysis of linkages across various global risks reveals a constellation of fiscal, demographic and societal risks signalling a dystopian future for much of humanity. The interplay among these risks could result in a world where a large youth population contends with chronic, high levels of unemployment, while concurrently, the largest population of retirees in history becomes dependent upon already heavily indebted governments. Both young and old could face an income gap, as well as a skills gap so wide as to threaten social and political stability.

They actually used the “D” word. Remember, this is not the research paper of some grad student with a flair for the dramatic. This document was written in part by Swiss Re and Zurich Financial Services — two of the most solid P&C insurers and re-insurers in the world. Their only business is the identification and management of real world risk. When you start hearing the language of Huxley and Orwell on the slopes of the Swiss Alps, then you’d best believe that something fundamental has shifted and that a lot of the rich and powerful are more frightened than they used to be.

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Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:13 | 2102076 css1971
css1971's picture

They can almost feel the rope.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:21 | 2102092 Popo
Popo's picture

How many of the world's non-elites were invited to Davos to discuss the issue?

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:24 | 2102098 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

look on the bright side... Looking back at 2011 it appears we have SOLVED the "Corruption" problem...

Damn are we good!

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:28 | 2102107 flattrader
flattrader's picture

>>>When you start hearing the language of Huxley and Orwell on the slopes of the Swiss Alps, then you’d best believe that something fundamental has shifted and that a lot of the rich and powerful are more frightened than they used to be.<<<

They'll be "hearing" from all of us soon.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:34 | 2102127 BoNeSxxx
BoNeSxxx's picture

I concur however more and more I am becoming convinced that the mob will be slow to rise.  Sure, the 15 of us will get off our asses and do something but I am not sure anything short of a prod will dislodge the sheeple from their television perches.

As an aside... Meteorological Catastrophe!  Climatological Catasatrophe!  Hydrological Catastrophe!  What the hell were they expecting to happen in 2011???

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:35 | 2102132 Bartanist
Bartanist's picture

Expecting or planning?

Some say that there are other forces at work here, thwarting their effrorts.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:43 | 2102151 BoNeSxxx
BoNeSxxx's picture

I almost went there... thanks for carrying my water.

Expect 'Alien Invasion' to be on the list in 2013

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:50 | 2102176 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

My alien invasion beat your alien invasion by 22 minutes (see below)...

Sorry, I RULE... (but I'll fund your campaign, & you can be the next TOTUS)...

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:55 | 2102197 BoNeSxxx
BoNeSxxx's picture

Touche... I bow to your greatness.

However, I pick up style points for the (coincidentally) appropriate avatar.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 10:12 | 2102263 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Oh wow... The "avatar" totally slipped by me... I therefore cannot be considered suitable to lead... I hereby abdicate the throne to you... As a token of faith, do you think you could help me get a few million dollar a pop appearances on the lecture circuit?...

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 10:22 | 2102294 Raging Debate
Raging Debate's picture

Francis, the two of you playing Who's on First and funny too? Bravo, I bow.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 11:24 | 2102505 Yamaha
Yamaha's picture

They actually used the “D” word. Remember, this is not the research paper of some grad student with a flair for the dramatic. This document was written in part by Swiss Re and Zurich Financial Services — two of the most solid P&C insurers and re-insurers in the world. Their only business is the identification and management of real world risk. When you start hearing the language of Huxley and Orwell on the slopes of the Swiss Alps, then you’d best believe that something fundamental has shifted and that a lot of the rich and powerful are more frightened than they used to be.

Best weekly sumation that even Obama and Timmy G can understand!

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 13:17 | 2102843 BoNeSxxx
BoNeSxxx's picture

Exactly correct in terms of sentiment.  However, factually erronious in the assumption that Huxley and Orwell are somehow exotic or removed from the 'rich and famous'.  In truth, both authors were concurrently tools and members of the NWO elite.  Their works were all created with (malice of) forethought as part of the larger group conditioning agenda.

I can dig up some citations, etc if I can tear myself away from my 'real' job later today if anyone doubts me.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:38 | 2102136 Bartanist
Bartanist's picture

Yes, as soon as we have nothing more to lose. That is when people will act. They take away people's security by using too heavy a hand then people will have nothing left to lose... just as sure as taking away their food, water or shelter.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:46 | 2102159 Popo
Popo's picture

I think the Davos elites are well aware of the world's poor.   However it is the "almost-poor" that they remain unaware of -- and are the far greater danger to the elites.   To put a finer point on it:  The world's "poor" live in Africa and Asia and aren't going to set their houses on fire at 3am.     The "almost-poor" however are the ones most likely to introduce the elites to dire concerns for personal safety.    

If you've ever spent time in emerging market countries where weath disparity exists on a wider scale -- you've seen the attention paid to spiked fences,  high walls,  surveillance systems,  guard posts and the like.   The elites of America and Europe have very little in that regard.   That's probably going to be looked back on as a major oversight.

 

 

 

 

 

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:58 | 2102209 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

In my perpetual arguments with the "don't steal my money through taxation" crowd, I often try to remind them that their own self-interest demands that the poor be given the bare minimum and that the middle class be vibrant.  It doesn't do much good to own a Bentley if you can't drive it through the city streets without fear of being attacked.   At least the body guard industry is going to get a much needed shot in the arm, and maybe the returning troops will have a job guarding the wealthy.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 11:07 | 2102442 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Then they'll complain about how much they have to pay bodyguards. It never ends.

Even Milton Friedman understood the principle you've elucidated.

Feudalism Ho!

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:59 | 2102214 swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

"If you've ever spent time in emerging market countries where weath disparity exists on a wider scale -- you've seen the attention paid to spiked fences,  high walls,  surveillance systems,  guard posts and the like."

What, you mean like Phoenix, AZ, or New Orleans, or parts of Florida, where everything worth $5 is wrapped in razor wire?

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 10:02 | 2102218 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

"That's probably going to be looked back on as a major oversight."

 

Or a major new business and investment opportunity.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 13:29 | 2102897 earnyermoney
earnyermoney's picture

Mr. Prince of Xe, the next Steve Jobs.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 12:15 | 2102660 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture

you've seen the attention paid to spiked fences,  high walls,  surveillance systems,  guard posts and the like.

Those are reasonably effective against common criminality, but like the lock on your door, to a determined assailant, all those measures amount to are delaying tactics.  When TSHTF, you can't count on paid help to watch your back.  All it takes is for a couple of hired guards to take one in the head before the rest call in sick.

Ultimately, security cannot be purchased, neither can loyalty.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 11:39 | 2102555 Kali
Kali's picture

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.  (Bobby McGee)

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 10:17 | 2102257 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

When you start hearing the language of Huxley and Orwell on the slopes of the Swiss Alps, then you’d best believe that something fundamental has shifted and that a lot of the rich and powerful are more frightened than they used to be.

I think the fact that their boy Romney is flailing, and that American youth are driving the Ron Paul movement and also increasingly recognize Obama as a Wall Street tool, probably scares the crap out of them.  All the stops are beig poulled out by the MSM, seemingly to little effect.  Wolf Blitzer was defending Romney the other day, for christ's sake. 

American wealthy are already in enclaves; the thing to watch for is an overt increase in physical security in and around these enclaves.  Patrols, fences, men with rifles wearing Xe uniforms.

Edit: something else to watch for is an overt increase in the decadence of the wealthy's behaviour.  As they become increasingly separate from "us" and increasingly afraid to leave their enclaves (except to convoy to another one) the isolation will twist them.  Read history.  This will just piss people off even more.

 

Edit again, and OT (or is it?): Geithner has no credibility on tax collection.  He is being replaced so the new guy can credibly crack down on tax collections.  Any state in dire financial straights gets around to this eventually, and Geithner is incapable of leading that charge.  This is the reason for his demise.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 12:12 | 2102657 Raymond Reason
Raymond Reason's picture

My God, you're saying it could get worse?  America already has the most efficient tax collection system on the planet....the envy of all other States.  We should abolish the CTFC and give the job to the IRS. 

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 13:18 | 2102854 Carl Spackler
Carl Spackler's picture

Thank you flattrader. Your response/quote made my day!

 

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:30 | 2102108 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

I'd interpret this elevation of the importance/urgency of the income inequality issue as a calculated move that's going to be used to justify action.

This isn't them being scared, this is them creating the justification for the next steps.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:33 | 2102128 Bartanist
Bartanist's picture

The next step would logically make everyone's income the same, except for those who run the show, ... who are elevated to god status through their own mutual consent, right?

Communism government and propaganda media run by the banking empire?

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:36 | 2102134 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

You heard el presidente - we need more fairness. Fairness is going to be the justification for a whole host of future moves that are anything but.

I do think that this article misses the point, but it does highlight an important and interesting detail.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 10:03 | 2102232 LooseLee
LooseLee's picture

....Not 'Fairness', but JUSTICE! When there finally is 'Real Justice' in all things behavioral (e.g. 'Action'), a new beginning will have blossomed. Unfortunately, TPTB could not compete effectively in a 'Just' society....

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 10:14 | 2102271 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

You could say that justice is just the embodiment of fairness. In "their" sales pitches "they" blur the distinction between the fairness/justice of the underlying system and rules and the fairness/justice of the result.

Amongst a group of actors playing the game, they cry out that something is unfair when someone ends up in a worse position, ignoring completely the fact that the steps required to make everyone equal in the end is grossly unfair to those who played by the same rules and succeeded. I'm not talking about the true elites here - they don't have to play by the rules anyway - just everyone else. The rules of nature are being subverted, and mankind is paying the price.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 11:13 | 2102464 flattrader
flattrader's picture

This (an example) would be justcie:  To see a real investigation of the robo-signing and mortgage loan frauds; to see criminal indictments, prosecutions, convictions, sentencings and long ass-raping stints in the federal pen...instead of a "sweetheart" deal for the banks and mortgage cos. who helped perpetrate this fraud by originating it, packaging it and selling worldwide.

I think that would satisfy both a sense of justice and fairness to "those that played by the rules" and "those who got screwed."

with none of the redistibution of wealth in the "opposite direction" that you seem so afraid of...because we know that any redistribution of wealth should be from the bottom to the top, no?

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 11:20 | 2102485 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

with none of the redistibution of wealth in the "opposite direction" that you seem so afraid of...because we know that any redistribution of wealth should be from the bottom to the top, no?

You had me up to this point. I don't support "wealth redistribution" by extrajudicial means in any direction. What are you insinuating? Am I not being sympathetic enough to the welfare class?

 

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 12:00 | 2102619 flattrader
flattrader's picture

You implied that justice means fairness means redistrubution of wealth and that's to be avoided.

>>>You could say that justice is just the embodiment of fairness. In "their" sales pitches "they" blur the distinction between the fairness/justice of the underlying system and rules and the fairness/justice of the result.<<<

...justice is just the embodiement of fairness...just???

I assert that where the housing fraud crisis is concerned (as an example,) justice and fairness could be applied to this situation without redistribution of wealth in any direction provided regulators and enforcers actually did their jobs...without any "deals" which would include write-downs disguised as "penalties."

Any monetary penalties would be awarded only to those homeowners who actually suffered some form of "fraudclosure."

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 12:09 | 2102646 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

I agree entirely with your assertion/example, which I think actually demonstrates my original point: That justice/fairness needs to take place through the enforcement of rules and regulations, not by shifting money around at the end where everyone has otherwise played by the rules. 

When I linked justice/fairness with the redistribution concept I was doing within the context of these clowns in Davos getting together to figure out how to make everyone's income more equal.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 10:27 | 2102311 Raging Debate
Raging Debate's picture

Oh how I love Justice Lee! But don't rule out that with a construct to compete they may sharpen the A game. Do you assume all the super rich don't know how to compete?

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 10:05 | 2102236 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"This isn't them being scared, this is them creating the justification for the next steps."

Perhaps it is not a coincidence after all that they can now track us through license plate cameras and facial recognition software and a dozen other means.  And perhaps the crazies who talk about FEMA camps aren't so crazy after all.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 11:43 | 2102567 Kali
Kali's picture

Cameras, if they aren't hidden in lamp posts and you can't locate them, can be made inoperable.  Of course, you could always take out the electrical grid to get all of them.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 11:54 | 2102478 gojam
gojam's picture

Gene,

I'd interpret "severe income disparity" as a euphemism for civil disorder.

 "Severe income disparity" is a classic political 'hold all' phrase which allows our 'masters' to discuss civil contigencies rather than  addressing the 'problem' that appears to be highlighted. 

Addressing "Severe income disparity" is positive, addressing the probable dangers of civil war looks desperately negative. 

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 12:03 | 2102628 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

Maybe that's what they mean by it, but even still I don't trust the Davos crowd enough to be comfortable with them being the ones to address the problem. I don't, for example, expect that they're going to be willing to give any political power back to the common people, or that they'll all of a sudden start being equitable when it comes to the financial markets. These issues are best addressed on a country by country basis, not by a bunch of globalists.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 14:12 | 2103151 gojam
gojam's picture

I agree.

Those top 5 Gobal risks are the top 5 risks to their hegemony.

Interestingly, "Severe income disparity" doesn't even feature in previous year's lists and yet "Severe income disparity" has existed for decades.

The Arab Spring has shown that seemingly invulnerable 'Governments" can be ejected and the UK riots in the Summer gave a lot of important people in the west, not just the UK, a jolt, Ron Paul and the Occupy movement are two threats on the horizon.

"Severe income disparity", read - discontent, a feeling of disenfanchisement, and general threat of disorder. Especially amongst the youth who , and I'm not young myself, have been right royally screwed over.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 11:38 | 2102550 old naughty
old naughty's picture

damn the we are damn good...we need actions, not rhetorics.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 12:44 | 2102735 HardwoodAg
HardwoodAg's picture

And Hurricanes/typhoons! yup damn good!

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 11:49 | 2102581 aerojet
aerojet's picture

See?  This kind of talk completely dispels many conspiracy theories that exist on the 'net--the elite know they are outnumbered, there are no space aliens running the show, and they are desperately trying to convince themselves that they must "share the wealth" somehow before they get their heads lopped off.  I wonder if they will have any breakout sessions relating to Ghadafi, as in "how to avoid having this happen to you" kind of talks. 

 

Also, on the subject of dystopia, I have heard others reference the notion that we are living "Blade Runner."  That struck me as very apt.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:16 | 2102079 firstdivision
firstdivision's picture

Watch "Blue Gold" for a look into the not so distant future.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:18 | 2102083 niktamere
niktamere's picture

2007-2011, the crack smoking years. 

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:18 | 2102085 Spooky Polish
Spooky Polish's picture

Davostopia ? 

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 18:10 | 2104036 Raging Debate
Raging Debate's picture

Cool Avatar Polish.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:21 | 2102090 fnord88
fnord88's picture

" signalling a dystopian future for much of humanity"

 

Jesus fucking christ. I think a little part of me has kept hoping I was just bat shit crazy. Even I never use the D word when trying to talk to others.

 

We really are, totally fucked. 

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:21 | 2102091 jmcadg
jmcadg's picture

They better be frightened. Electric gates and a butler won't save you from the masses.

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 09:46 | 2102158 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Was it Dimon who near panicked when OWS marched on his apartment building?  Cut his speech short?

That was some "tell."

There won't be enough private helicopters to pick them off rooves.

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