News Release

The Davos Problem: “It is time to #TaxTheRich”

File:World Economic Forum logo.svg - Wikimedia CommonsJENNY RICKS, via Asha Tharoor, asha@ashatharoor.com, @jenny_ricks
Ricks is the global convenor of Fight Inequality Alliance. She just wrote a piece on Davos for Al Jazeera.

She writes: “Policy choices made by governments and international institutions throughout the pandemic have fallen woefully short of protecting people from the impact of multiple crises. Spiralling inflation, sky-rocketing energy bills and fuel prices, as well as high and still rising food prices, spelled disaster for so many. But the richest few, who continued to increase their wealth in the past two years, are still benefiting from the crisis. As a result, questions are being raised on the morality of an economic system that has failed to help the masses and instead supercharged inequality during a global health emergency. …

“In the UK, where soaring energy bills forced many families to choose between heating their homes and eating, for example, the government is resisting calls for a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies. It is clear that the British public would rather have their leaders tax the companies benefitting from the growing cost of living crisis than waste time discussing inequality and sustainability with CEOs actively deepening that inequality in Switzerland. …

“In Zambia, for example, President Hakainde Hichilema is finding an increasingly frustrated citizenry asking who benefits from his economic policies, such as his recent move to lower the corporate taxation rate from 35 percent to 30 percent.

“Zambians are asking: In a mineral-rich country with huge copper reserves selling at record prices, why are the vast majority of people still living in crushing poverty? Why are we expected to bear the pain of increasing food and fuel prices? Why are the details of an upcoming IMF loan agreement, expected to usher in more devastating austerity, being kept hidden from us? …

“The people have no patience for the speeches or meaningless policy proposals that will be produced in Davos this week. This is why people around the world, from Kenya and South Africa to Switzerland and the UK, will once again be taking to the streets to send a singular message to their leaders at Davos: It is time to #TaxTheRich.”