On the barricades of Paris on 14 October 1793, Pierre Gaspard Chaumette, the president of the Paris Commune who himself fell to the guillotine to which he sent many others, quoted these fine words from Jean-Jacques Rousseau: ‘When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich’.
A decade ago, Oxfam raised the alarm at the World Economic Forum – an annual meeting of the world’s wealthy elite held in Davos, Switzerland – about extreme levels of inequality. Ever since, billionaires have doubled their wealth, growing by $2.7 BILLION a day since 2020.
“Remember life before March 2020? So many lives lost, learning delayed, jobs disappeared.
And yet during that time, the few hundred richest people have seen their wealth increase by $4.48 trillion. (Yes, that’s $4,480,000,000,000.00.) That’s not just luck: the wealthiest are rigging the stakes in their favor.”
This essay is written by a Canadian activist rooted in her own community, but there is no corner of the planet where what she describes is not entirely as evident, nor the remedies she proposes the minimum necessary.
Ze zouden het zo graag zelf willen geloven, de miljardairs. Maar … lees dit even:
“What a year for crypto it’s been, and it’s still only November. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to reading the Michael Lewis book on Sam Bankman-Fried and the FTX drama. Presumably, the man they call SBF first appealed to Lewis because it fit into his favored narrative of “how one clever guy overcame the idiocy of the crowd,” but now it has become so much more interesting.
A lot has been written on this saga already, but I think the most amazing piece I’ve read remains this bonkers “spotlight” feature from Sequoia, the venture capital company which invested in SBF’s companies, and which SBF then invested in (an endearingly circular relationship, which may be of interest to regulators). If read at face value, it gives the impression that SBF is the closest thing to Jesus that Earth has hosted for years. I could quote all of it, but I’ll content myself with a couple of snippets.
This TNI report – co-researched with StopWapenhandel and Tipping Point North South – delves into the impact of the global arms race on climate change and finds that:
Richest nations (known as Annex 2 countries in climate negotiations) are spending 30 times as much on military as on climate finance
The military of NATO countries like US and UK are keen to say they are tackling emissions but in practice there is no evidence the military can reduce emissions while increasing its ‘bootprint’
Rather than providing climate finance, the richest countries are selling arms to the 40 most climate-vulnerable nations fueling conflict and instability as extreme weather worsens
Egypt is a disturbing case-study of a nation supported by arms deals rather than climate finance which aids a military regime in repressing its peoples
There has been silence on the impact of militarism on climate change for too long, but there are signs of growing awareness including at the UN climate talks (COP27). Alongside our research, there was an official event at the UNFCCC that looked at the Ukraine government’s calculations of war-time emissions. There was also a release of this report on 10 November that estimated the global military carbon footprint as making up 5.5% of global emissions (if it were a country it would be the fourth biggest in terms of emissions in the world).