tv Inside Story 2020 Ep 21 Al Jazeera January 22, 2020 10:32am-11:01am +03
the world health organization will meet later on when say to decide whether to take the rare step of declaring a public health emergency of international concern at least 9 people have now died from the corona virus and 440 cases have been kind of it originated in the city of durham but has now spread to other countries in asia and the 1st case has been identified in the united states at least 36 people have been killed after an attack by armed groups and became a fast so on monday it happened in 2 villages near basra logo in the north of the country 3 others were injured the government has now announced 2 days of mourning well those are the headlines the news continues here on the inside story do stay with us. we understand the different cities. of cultures across the world so no matter how you take a. current affairs.
the great and the good of global business and politics arrive in davos for their annual get together it comes off to millions of people in almost every corner of the world protesting against economic inequality so will the elites in switzerland do anything to close what many say is a widening gap between rich and poor this is inside story. hello and welcome to the program on martin denis our economic system is broken the rich are getting richer and the poor poor a vats a message from oxfam in a report released as business and political leaders gather in switzerland for the 50th world economic forum the charity found the number of billionaires has doubled
over the past decade to more than 2000 they control more money than the 4 and a half 1000000000 or so poorest people on earth and here's another way of looking at it if the 2 richest men sat on their fortunes piled up a $100.00 bills they would be in outer space while most people but to kill only women would be sitting on the floor that oxfam says the gap is widening because governments are failing to ensure wealthy people and corporations pay enough tax well inequality was at the heart of many of the protests around the world last year plans to raise public transport fares in chile for instance triggered large demonstrations against the government's economic policies which many people said nearly favor the rich. and rising fuel and living costs sparked the yellow vests movement in france. there were violent protests in iran when the government raised
petrol prices by up to 3 times overnight rights groups estimate at least $300.00 people died and when sudan's government cut field and bread sauce it is protests led to revolution and president omar al bashir was swept away after 30 years in office. all right let's introduce our panel now in london we have darren mack door he's the head of europe and principal russia analyst at the global risk consultancy various maple craft in nairobi kenya max lawson head of policy on inequality at oxfam international also in london we have matthew lesh head of research at the adam smith institute now welcome to you all i'd like to start off though with a quote that comes from that oxfam report and it says this governments around the world can and must build
a human economy that is feminist and benefits the 99 percent not only the one percent so let's go to max now in nairobi of course you're the author of this report and what do you mean by a human economy and what you mean by a feminist economy. i think at the moment we have a broken economy we have an economy that is clearly working for a very small group of people these billionaires right at the top and the majority of them are men and then at the bottom you've got hundreds of millions of people living on less than $5.00 a day working for very little money again the majority of them women so it's a sexist economy it's an unequal economy so a more human economy a more feminist economy if you like would seek to close that gap between rich and poor and would seek to spread out the wealth more evenly more fairly and we think that would be much better for humanity and much better for the economy turn and much surely we could have had this conversation
a year ago tell me what's changed between january 2019 in the run up to davos on the 49th year and this year sadly very little has changed at the top we're still seeing a huge increase in the wealth of billionaires you seen the number of billionaires double we're living through a billionaire boom but what has changed in the last year is the level of protest the level of anger the numbers of people on the street people are absolutely fed up with an economy that clearly only delivers for those at the very top and he's failing to deliver even basic foodstuffs to ordinary people so i think that's a big change we're seeing anger across the world and elites cannot ignore this forever right coming to matthew now matthew you have written that the report the oxfam report authored by max is complete hogwash. it look quite frankly it is and i think it's quite shameful that oxfam is releasing this same disingenuous report
year after year after year what oxfam has done by focusing on what it calls net wealth it actually means that the bottom decile has over $1.00 trillion dollars in negative wealth that includes recent oxford graduates or harvard graduates who have a large amount of debt actually tells us very little about how the worse off in society are going what we know is that over the last 10 years the amount of people in extreme poverty has actually harmed means 158000 people a day have been lifted out of poverty meanwhile global income inequality is actually declining and it's declining but as i said because we have rising living standards in china in india and even right are particularly in recent years across africa all right so even if you look at other measures of inequality like height or health care things are actually getting much better not worse let's go back to matt said max it seems very much if you listen to matthew that you're actually measuring the wrong thing. yes and he's completely wrong and he's said it many years before
if you don't want to listen you can listen to the world bank to the international monetary fund to the r e c d all of them are pointing to growing inequality in many countries is a serious serious problem and the rate of poverty reduction which he highlighted as we saw in our report this year has hollow of and in fact extreme poverty in africa is going back up and institutions like the world bank have said very clearly that one of the biggest problems one of the biggest issues that means that we cannot reduce poverty further is this huge gap between rich and poor we do need to tackle inequality if we want to world free of poverty and we certainly can't ignore the world's billionaires and the booming billionaire world which is really hard to ignore right and daraa 2019 has been called by many people the year of protest it was remarkable wasn't it because of the spread of protests we had it in latin america we had it in africa we had it in europe as well.
absolutely we have served last year 47 countries that's almost a quarter of the world where there was a significant up rise in political unrest civil unrest and protest activity and digging into this the main drivers of this activity what we've seen is rising inflation the withdrawal of public subsidies for a few fuel and food or increases in the cost of those basic staples and the lack of mechanisms for channeling political discontent within a within a larger political system i.e. authoritarianism or simply imperfect democracies so what we are seeing is across the globe from places like france where a relatively small uptick in fuel duty prompted the protest same in chile where a seemingly small increase i believe in public transportation costs are causing large scale protests and this is happening in russia with the pension protests and
across africa as well in places like zimbabwe south africa and it is driven by a sense of economic and political inequality essentially you're seeing growing groups of citizens who don't feel that they're stakeholders in their own society because of these things life is getting harder and they they don't feel that they they have channels to make their grievances heard so they're going out into the streets and this is a trend that we forecast is going to accelerate in 2020 all right let's talk about 2020 in a little while let's go back to you matthew then said what's taking so many thousands of people out on the streets in so many different countries many people even risking their lives for against heavy had the security force response why do you think so many people in 2019 a prepared to put their life on the line to demonstrate a well against what they cool is social or economic inequality. well i think in many ways what we're seeing across the world is political movements against the
perception that the governments and politicians in particular are increasingly late and disconnected from the interests and concerns of the people that they represent i think we've got a governmental and a political crisis going on in the world today if you actually look just in the last few days out a man has released their annual trust barometer and it finds that the extreme lack of trust in both the competency as well as the ethics of government are quite extraordinary at this point in time i'm particularly in western countries and there's an underlying pessimism about the state of the global economy and where we're going as a society i mean in many ways that's increased by narratives that create false claims about the side of the world rather than actually enabling people to prosper and for ish with free markets and free trade and max in nairobi. you'll report annual report comes out specifically to grab the headlines at
a time when the world's political and business elite are gathering in davos have you ever seen anything of of much consequence come from this get together in the swiss alps. no i think as someone said last year at davos it's about a bit like saying asking arsonists how to put a fire mean these are the big winners of the global economy as far as they're concerned things are going up saluki phone so it's very hard to expect them to come out with anything like the radical solutions that we need for instance much higher taxation of wealth or much better regulation of corporations but i would say that the solutions are out there inequality is not inevitable and you can see from the protests you can see that people i would agree are fed up with elites and they're fed up with politicians who've been captured by elites and we have a billionaire president in the white house who's just given a huge tax cut to the top one percent in america across the world people can see
that their politicians are listening to the super rich and not listening to them and i think when that starts to change and politicians see they have to listen to ordinary people that's from we'll see inequality reducing or i don't see the elites at davos doing anything positive in that direction all right now i'd like to ask you and i'll stay with you matt 1st i'd like to ask you all about what your thoughts are about the inclusion now of a calculation to include carbon neutral planning this is now going to be taken on board by the global economy to various degrees how do you think that is going to affect the global economy if this is likely to be a catalyst for change. i think the plans that are out there things like the green new deal in the us are extremely exciting i mean here in kenya where i live you see the very visceral impacts of climate change every day you've got drought floods we've got
a plague of locusts this way people are dying because of climate change so we really need to radically reform global economy to do that but we must do that in a way that respects social justice that closes the gap between rich and poor as we saw in france if we try and implement environmental taxes that ordinary people without the elites being seen to do anything towards climate change then you will just get an equal and opposite reaction we need to tackle economic inequality and the climate crosses together right matthew coming to you this commitment under the paris accord or 2015 by and large commits a pledge is the globe major global economies of course the us is not part of it now to a carbon neutral. economy by the year 2050 how would you see that filtering into the current calculations now that are likely to be talked about in davos.
look it's clearly quite a difficult goal that the water set in is clearly lesser. as our economy is and i think quite frankly the only way to achieve that is really to embrace the market and embrace innovation and opportunities presented i've already seen in recent history a decline in the carbon intensity of our economies so we're managing to produce more economic output using fewer carbon emission that's because of new technologies and i think that's ultimately what we're going to have to really rely on if we're going to be outer address the challenge presented by climate change matthew what are the kinds of things what are the kinds of changes in the global economy that are currently in place and that we can perhaps expect for the rest of this year because it obviously any change in global systems will have an impact and i'm just wondering what we can expect or i think it's obviously hard to predict the future in terms of our can expect i think that when it comes to policy makers
a lot of the focus needs to be on trying to remove the barriers to innovative new technologies remove barriers to new nuclear energy plants that are produced low carbon energy to g.m. genetically more modified food that can produce more food using less cultural space and therefore produce fewer carbon emissions and that's the kind of approach the policymakers should take in the years ahead if we're going to actually tackle climate change rather than just talk about tackling climate change right there max do you think that this rebooting of the global economy. towards a carbon neutral future do you think that this offers an opportunity for more equality for more equity within global financial and economic systems. i think there is a huge opportunity to repurpose our economy to tackle challenge climate change and tackling equality at the same time i disagree with matthew that the way to do that is through more deregulation 3 more free markets through more of
a kind of casino capitalism that is led us to the kind of protest levels of inequality that we have at the moment it's going to take careful planning careful investment to create the millions of new green jobs to really repurpose our entire economy that's a huge job and it desperately needs doing but i think it can be done and done in a way that's very positive it's great for women it's great for the poorest and it's great for the planet right and are all we witnessing in many ways the the ofter effects if you like the hind over from the financial crash of 2008 still it's the people on the ground those who've been protesting as well as others who've had to endure all stare at me and as matthew alluded to there's also a profound loss of trust both in the economic systems that govern our world and indeed leadership political leadership. absolutely i mean if you just look at the
changes in the political landscape in europe since 20062007 we've seen a rise in populist parties not just of the far right but also of the far left and we you know we went from this post cold war period where we had 20 years of. fairly widely expected you know neo liberal economic doctrine or whatever you like to call it the washington consensus that did deliver live rising living standards to a lot of people and then there was this this crunch period which you know left an aftertaste in which a lot of people seem to think well we just we got poorer whereas the people caused the crisis. got richer and kept their positions and you can argue whether or not that narrative is factually correct or or the nuance within that but that is the greater perception of people across the divide not only just you know with or terry in states where we frequently see people rising up against governments and protesting to do a lack of other options but equally in the established democracies where there is
a sense that the political and financial structures of society are no longer working for the vast majority of people within them again this isn't just a question of economic growth or or how you know what kind of jobs he will have it is a question of to what extent citizens feel like stakeholders in their societies and increasingly they feel less and less attached to them or they feel less and less represented by the people who are running their countries and hence they're coming out in the streets and they're they're becoming more critical of the system as a whole not just brown it was policies right and coming to you matthew also in london and i just like to raise the. opposite by brakemen a dutch economist adult she story and forgive me last year it davus. he basically slammed all the delegates i'm led to understand and he said that the basic formula
for restructuring and making a more equitable financial system economic system is taxation would you agree max as already. mentioned the issue of taxation for the big corporations and for the mega rich. i think in many ways devil styles represent what people find surface writing about capitalism which of these very cozy relationships between big business and big government and the seeking of special supporters and special bailouts in their times of need while the rest of society loses out i do question whether or not there are taxation is really the case here we already have an extremely progressive taxation system the top one percent of taxpayers in the u.k. pay about 29 percent of all income tax in the us it's even higher the top one percent of income earners pay about 40 percent of all income tax i'm not sure that it's possible to make taxation systems more progressive in and to really try to
take wealth from the rich much more without it really hurting our overall levels of growth the overall levels of prosperity and i think that makes people much worse off i think we spend enough time talking about how terrible the rich are and how awful they are despite the fact that of course the rich that we invaded and provided services that will benefit from i mean we actually need to spend time thinking about how we can raise people up it's not us versus them the rich don't get richer by making the poor poor that's just a myth we can all get richer together and that's quite quite frankly the nature of a successful economy we don't need to hate the rich to reduce poverty in fact people have gotten richer while we reduce poverty at the same time over the last 30 years when we've raised a 1000000000 people out of extreme poverty oh writer and matthew i'll take your word to the words that you wrote and put them to max because matthew accuses outspan of not exactly loving the pull that hating the rich is that the fact i think it's very clear that we living through
a billionaire. that we have 2 months extreme wealth into a few hands and that we do need to and we are in a situation at the moment and warren buffett the 3rd richest man on earth he says this regularly he has a lower rate of returns then he sent crew tree we're in an upside down. no where because of tax havens because of tax cuts by the tax cuts given by donald trump to rich people in america where rich people are paying lower rates of tax than working class americans that's not fair that's not right it's not about hating rich people that's about a fair system where everyone shoulders the burden and we think that are not just us i mean the i.m.f. the world bank many respects you know thirty's think there's considerable scope for increasing taxation on the richest and just it's important to imagine what that means that means schools that means hospitals it means teaches it means doctors it's incredibly important to take that revenue out of the secret bank accounts in
switzerland and start spending it on schools instead right and daraa how would you characterize therefore the challenge that lies in front of all of those mingling together in davos right now what is there the essence of the global economic challenge that we're looking to them to provide certainly some of the answers to well a lot of it's a question of chord nation and also cooperation between governments matthew is very correct to point out that. and you know this is become much more public knowledge since the financial crisis the increasing offshore isolation of wealth and also the rise of multinational corporations which can effectively reduce their their their tax burden through various various means you know we saw in the us amazon recently competing for for municipal benefits with regards to the city was choosing
for its new headquarters there is a degree to which. private enterprise and corporations have become less amenable to political control through oxidation through regulation and all of those sorts of things and that simply because different countries have different jurisdictions they have different legislation and regulations and they will compete with each other on that basis that a lot of what we're seeing with you know post-breakfast u.k. so whether or not we can have some sort of community. mutually beneficial cooperation rather than beggar thy neighbor policies with regard to regulation that goes from taxation to environmental laws is really something that we're going to have to wait and see all right this stuff was i fortunately i have to jump up and down sorry i have to jump in there because we are running out of time now want quickly to go back to matthew and ask you for a very brief response if possible and that is so you believe then that
a free free market free trade environment is going to satisfy the people for instance in sudan those people who went out they protested and they managed to sweep away and the authoritarian regime because their pockets primarily what hurting do you think that they will accept a free market unregulated markets. watch i don't think the free market is necessarily i regulate i think what we've seen over recent decades is that prosperity is very much linked to free markets and free a try i'd already in africa where we're seeing the development of the african trading union block through the african union and that's going to provide extraordinary economic benefits people across africa i do think of the same time of course political freedom and will come in many ways potentially along with that and there will be demands clear as there are rising middle classes for the ability to have a say in the way that society is a government and to ensure the resources aren't stolen from government for the for
the few and not the many but i but i think ultimately what we can give up what's proven to be the single most successful poverty alleviation tool known to humankind which which are free markets and free trade all right we have to leave it there we've run out of time thank you very much indeed darren mcgill in london max little seen in nairobi and matthew lash also in london thank you all very much indeed and as ever thank you for watching the program you can see it again any time you like by going to the website al-jazeera dot com should you want more discussion you can go to our facebook page facebook dot com full especially a.j. inside story and there's always twitter handle at a.j. inside story i'm at martin dennis from the whole team here and don't like to.
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