They write their own tax laws; they buy their own politicians. No wonder the wealth of the very richest people on the planet is ballooning
Davos: ‘This week, some of the richest people on Earth will gather high up a snowy mountain in the world’s biggest tax haven.’ Photograph: Ruben Sprich/Reuters
As metaphors go, this one takes some beating. This week, some of the richest people on Earth will gather high up a snowy mountain in the world’s biggest tax haven. Most will have paid big money to attend the three-day meeting in Davos: the most exclusive memberships cost somewhere in the region of £100,000 each. From there, they will relay thoughts on global risks and opportunities to the ski-jacketed press corps. They will talk about gender inequality and technological innovation. The message will go out: however turbulent the global economy, it is being capably stewarded.
These are our economic elites as they want the rest of us stuck on the flatlands below to see them: big-thinking, well-intentioned, hard-working – and thoroughly meritocratic. This is also how they justify the mammoth rewards they enjoy: we sweat for it; we’re worth it. The follow-up is usually only implied, but it is the one that underpins the entire system: put in enough hours and this could be you.