In a recent report titled 'Working for the Few: Political capture and economic inequality' Oxfam informs us that 'Almost half of the world's wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population'. Their report goes on to recommend that the World Economic Forum http://www.weforum.org/, an elite gathering held annually in Davos, Switzerland, take economic and political measures to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth.
And in his explanation of why he attended the recent Forum in Davos, Kumi Naidoo, the Executive Director of Greenpeace International tells us 'If we manage to shift the consciousness of one CEO or senior political leader, who may do the same with a couple of his peers, then I think it is worth it. It is also worth being there, listening and observing, understanding some of the forces that shape our world and importantly feeding that information back to the rest of Greenpeace and other civil society allies.'
As anyone who pays even the slightest realistic attention to the global elite already knows, the elite's efforts to maximise its political and economic clout, and hence its wealth, at the expense of everyone else and the Earth itself, are carefully crafted. And this is not going to change on our recommendation or because we talk to them, or even because we listen to them. Moreover, the reason is simple.
The global elite is insane. And it is incredibly violent.
I would like to illustrate this insanity and violence briefly, explain what I mean by 'insane' and then outline a strategy to resist it.
In a video statement in 2012, the world's richest woman, Gina Rinehart, observed that many overseas workers are paid $A2 per day or less. Slave 'wages' are a common occurrence all over the world as most factory workers, particularly those employed by the world's largest corporations in Africa, Asia and Central/South America, can readily testify.
We also know that 50,000 people (85% of them children) die in Africa, Asia and Central/South America each and every day essentially because they do not have enough to eat: http://starvation.net/ This is a death rate that results in a cumulative death total that dwarfs both the death rate and the total number of deaths in all war throughout human history.
Incredibly, even the number of deaths on 6 and 9 August 1945, when nuclear weapons were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, resulted in less than 50,000 individual deaths for each of these two days (and each of those subsequent). Apart from this, we know that about one billion people around the world go to bed in a semi-starved condition each night. Moreover, we know that the global elite takes deliberate measures to maintain and exacerbate this cruel state of affairs by planning and working to implement such atrociously unjust economic arrangements as those outlined in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) on top of the already highly damaging economic structures and relationships of capitalism.
How do you feel when you read these facts? If you are like me, you are horrified at the thought that you might starve yourself, you empathise deeply with those who suffer this fate and you make some effort to ameliorate it or change it (ranging from giving a donation, preferably to an organisation with more political savvy than Oxfam and Greenpeace, to campaigning to resist implementation of the TPP and TAFTA). You do this because you feel empathy, sympathy and compassion. You do this because you perceive the injustice and you want to take some action, at least, to change it. You identify with your fellow human beings who are suffering.
Insanity is widely understood to refer to a state of mind that prevents normal perception, behaviour or social interaction; it describes someone who is considered to be seriously mentally ill.
Do you believe that individual members of the global elite share your perception (which is shaped by your empathy, sympathy and compassion)? Who is normal: you or them? Are individual members of the global elite behaving and interacting as you would? Do they share your conception of what a desirable human community – with its basis in such values as love, solidarity, equity, justice and sustainability – might look like?
It is clear to me that, as a result of the violence they each suffered as a child, we can readily conclude that each individual within the global elite falls within the definition of 'insane': someone who is incapable of 'normal perception, behaviour and social interaction', someone who is incapable of love, compassion, empathy and sympathy. And this is why they do not join efforts to restructure the global economy to ensure distributive justice for all and disburse their personal wealth to those most in need as a measure of their commitment to the creation of a humane world based on equity, justice and sustainability.
If you would like to consider publicly committing yourself to helping to make this nonviolent world a reality, you can read (and, if you wish, sign online) The People's Charter to Create a Nonviolent World.
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