An inconvenient truth: Does responsible consumption benefit corporations more than society?

Are environmental and social problems such as global warming and poverty the result of inadequate governmental regulations or does the burden fall on our failure as consumers to make better consumption choices? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, responsible consumption shifts the burden for solving global problems from governments to consumers and ultimately benefits corporations more than society.

“When businesses convince politicians to encourage responsible consumption instead of implementing policy changes to solve environmental and social problems, business earns the license to create new markets while all of the pressure to solve the problem at hand falls on the individual consumer. For example, global warming is blamed on consumers unwilling to make greener choices rather than the failure of governments to regulate markets to the benefit of society and the environment,” write authors Markus Giesler and Ela Veresiu (both York University).

Davos, Switzelrand, Klaus Schwab, Founder and ...

Continue reading “An inconvenient truth: Does responsible consumption benefit corporations more than society?”

Israel PM slams Iran move to send ships towards US

EEV: This may eventually lead to the escalation of Iranian missiles being within striking distance of the U.S. Mainland.

AFP

3 hours ago
An Iranian warship docks in the Sudanese town of Port Sudan, on October 31, 2012
          

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israel on Sunday denounced an Iranian announcement that it was sending naval ships towards the United States as further evidence that loosening sanctions on Tehran was counterproductive.

The move to send warships to the Atlantic was announced by the commander of Iran’s northern naval fleet on Saturday, who described it as a “message.”

The ships “have already started their voyage towards the Atlantic Ocean via the waters near South Africa,” said Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, in remarks quoted by Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency. Continue reading “Israel PM slams Iran move to send ships towards US”

China Japan Diplomacy quickly crossing the Rubicon

China hits back at Abe over World War I analogy

Jan. 25, 2014 – 04:18PM JST

China hits back at Abe over World War I analogy
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on January 22, 2014 in MontreuxAFP

DAVOS —

China has hit back at Japan’s Prime Minister over a claim that current tensions in East Asia are akin to those between Britain and Germany on the eve of World War I.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said he believed the analogy employed by Japanese premier Shinzo Abe was misplaced.

In the latest salvo in a simmering diplomatic spat, Wang also reiterated China’s anger over Abe’s recent visit to a shrine which honors the memory of 14 convicted war criminals along with millions of other Japanese war dead. Continue reading “China Japan Diplomacy quickly crossing the Rubicon”

Abe tells world to stand up to China or face consequences

 Jan. 23, 2014 – 06:55AM

Abe tells world to stand up to China or face consequences
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his special address at the opening session of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday.AFP

DAVOS, Switzerland  —

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday told the world it must stand up to an increasingly assertive China or risk a regional conflict with catastrophic economic consequences.

In a landmark speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Abe issued what amounted to an appeal for international support in a potentially explosive dispute with its superpower neighbor over islands in the East China Sea.

“We must restrain military expansion in Asia … which otherwise could go unchecked,” Abe told the annual meeting of global business and political leaders, which Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is due to attend on Friday. Continue reading “Abe tells world to stand up to China or face consequences”

In the U.S. the richest 1% in the U.S received 95% of wealth created since 2009

– 1% of the population, which combined owns about 46% of global

– 1% had $110 trillion in wealth — 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the population

85 people Own Half of Earth’s Wealth

Si es que en el fondo son unos buenazos...

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The 85 richest people on Earth have the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of the population, according to a new report that highlights growing income inequality as political and business leaders gather for the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Those wealthy individuals are a small part of the richest 1% of the population, which combined owns about 46% of global wealth, according to the report from British humanitarian group Oxfam International. Continue reading “In the U.S. the richest 1% in the U.S received 95% of wealth created since 2009”

20 richest Spaniards have as much as 20% of population

– ”the economic elite is seizing political power to manipulate the rules of the economic game”

80% believe laws crafted for the wealthy, says Oxfam Intermon

20 January, 16:02

    (ANSAmed) – MADRID, JANUARY 20 – The overall wealth of the 20 richest people in Spain (77 billion euros) is equivalent to the income of the poorest 20% of the population, rendering the country the second ”most unequal in Europe”.     The figures are from study released by Oxfam Intermon, which also notes that ”the economic elite is seizing political power to manipulate the rules of the economic game”.     The document states that ”the case of Spain is especially worrisome”, due to the ”effect of the financial crisis and the policies adopted”, which ”have hit the medium and lower classes especially hard”. (ANSAmed). Continue reading “20 richest Spaniards have as much as 20% of population”

World’s 85 richest people have as much as poorest 3.5 billion: Oxfam warns Davos of ‘pernicious impact’ of the widening wealth gap

 

Monday 20 January 2014
The 85 richest people on the planet have accumulated as much wealth between them as half of the world’s population, political and financial leaders have been warned ahead of their annual gathering in the Swiss resort of Davos.

The tiny elite of multibillionaires, who could fit into a double-decker bus, have piled up fortunes equivalent to the wealth of the world’s poorest 3.5bn people, according to a new analysis by Oxfam. The charity condemned the “pernicious” impact of the steadily growing gap between a small group of the super-rich and hundreds of millions of their fellow citizens, arguing it could trigger social unrest.

It released the research on the eve of the World Economic Forum, starting on Wednesday, which brings together many of the most influential figures in international trade, business, finance and politics including David Cameron and George Osborne. Disparities in income and wealth will be high on its agenda, along with driving up international health standards and mitigating the impact of climate change.

Oxfam said the world’s richest 85 people boast a collective worth of $1.7trn (£1trn). Top of the pile is Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecommunications mogul, whose family’s net wealth is estimated by Forbes business magazine at $73bn. He is followed by Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder and philanthropist, whose worth is put at $67bn and is one of 31 Americans on the list.

Other well known names include the business magnate Warren Buffett, whose estimated worth is $53.5bn, and Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, with $23bn.

The world’s richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt, sits on a family fortune of $30bn derived from L’Oréal, the cosmetics company.  According to Forbes, the richest person in the UK (and 89th in the world) is the Duke of Westminster, whose property empire has boosted his wealth to $11.4bn.

Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecoms mogul, is the world’s richest man, with a worth of $73bn

 

Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecoms mogul, is the world’s richest man, with a worth of $73bn Oxfam calculated that almost half the world’s wealth  – $110trn – is owned by just 1 per cent of its population. It said that 70 per cent of people live in countries where the gap between the rich and poor has widened in the last 30 years.

“This massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people presents a significant threat to inclusive political and economic systems,” the charity said. “People are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown.”

Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam’s executive director, who will attend Davos, described the gulf between sectors of society as staggering. “We cannot hope to win the fight against poverty without tackling inequality. Widening inequality is creating a vicious circle where wealth and power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, leaving the rest of us to fight over crumbs from the top table,” she said.

Oxfam is calling on the business chiefs gathering at Davos to promise to support progressive taxation and not dodge their own taxes, refrain from using their wealth to seek political favours and demand that companies they own or control pay a living wage. In a report last week the forum warned  that income disparity leading to social unrest could have a significant impact on the world economy over the next 12 months.

Read More: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/oxfam-warns-davos-of-pernicious-impact-of-the-widening-wealth-gap-9070714.html

Enhanced by Zemanta

Davos 2013: world leaders to discuss aliens, super-humans, and immortals

Jan 25, 2013 15:01 Moscow Time

земля планета земля инопланетянин земля инопланетянин космос инопланетянин инопланетная жизнь 2011 май коллаж

© Colalge “The Voice of Russia”

This year, apart from the traditional economic concerns, the program of the World Economic Forum in Davos is scheduled to address a number of highly controversial issues which have been kept classified for decades. Called the ‘X factors’, these issues include the potential risks of medically induced enhancement of cognitive abilities, prolongation of human life, and discovery of extraterrestrial life.

After reading the Executive Summary of the WEF 2013 one is left with an impression that he has just read the scenario for the next ‘X Files’ episode. Runaway climate change, rogue deployment of geoengeneering, and digital wildfires are just a few issues that the readers of the Executive Summary can find not only unconventional but also futuristic. Nonetheless, all of these themes are due to be discussed under the rubric of the ‘X Factors’.

Developed in partnership with the editors of Nature, a leading science journal, the ‘X Factors’ category looks well beyond the landscape of 50 traditional global risks and identifies the most significant game-changers of the next decade. Apart from the already mentioned runaway climate change, digital wildfires, and rogue geoengeneering, which seem to be at least minimally realistic, the list of ‘X Factors’ also includes the possible implications of people living longer, getting smarter, and meeting extra-terrestrial ‘Others’. While some remain highly skeptical regarding these issues, the editors of Nature together with the WED team seem to be convinced that in the very near future these risks will not only become very real, but will also profoundly challenge the existing social and scientific paradigms.

In WEF team’s opinion, super-human abilities are no longer the preserve of science fiction. Instead, the time of human prodigies is fast approaching the horizon of plausibility. At the time when researchers all over the world are working hard to develop the medical cure to such mental illnesses as Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia, it is conceivable that in the not too distant future scientists will identify compounds that will be more effective than existing cognitive pharmaceutical enhancers such as Ritalin and modafinil. While these new compounds will be prescribed only for treatment of severe neurological diseases, it is highly likely that they will also be used off-label by healthy people seeking for an edge in their every-day endeavors. effective new compounds which appear to enhance intelligence or cognition are sure to be used off-label by healthy people looking for an edge at work or school.

Interestingly, WEF experts believe that significant enhancement of cognitive abilities can be attained through hardware as well as drugs. Laboratory studies indicate that direct electrical stimulation through the implanted electrodes can significantly improve memory. Unlike drugs, such cognitive enhancement therapy is less easily available and is thus less likely to be adopted by healthy people. Nonetheless, the scientists suggest that within 10 years time intra-brain devices and sensors will open a new realm of enhanced neurobiology for those who can afford it. In this context, the scientists wonder whether it can be ethically acceptable for the world to be divided into the cognitively-enhanced and unenhanced. Will the humanity accept the idea that significant cognitive enhancement should be available to purchase on the open market or will there be a push for legislation to maintain a more level playing field?

The other question that the experts are asking is what happens if cognitive enhancement program goes awry or if it falls in the wrong hands. Cognitive enhancement drugs and devices have a very wide-ranging effects on various systems of human body since they work by targeting neurotransmitter systems. In this respect, WEF scientists argue that “there is a significant possibility of (un)intended effects on other systems – for example, drugs to enhance learning may lead to a greater willingness to take risks; drugs to enhance working memory may lead to increased impulsive behaviour”. Indeed, recent research into the field already suggests that, in addition to improving long term memory, it is possible to use TMS to manipulate or even suspend a person’s moral judgement of right versus wrong. The technology can also be used to “erase” memory and deliberately cause permanent brain damage. In this sense, it is not difficult to see how new cognitive enhancement drugs and technologies can open up a space for their misuse by criminal organizations and terrorist networks.

Another issue that the WEF experts decided to present for discussion this year is the implications of longer life-span among humans. The WEF team suggests that while “medical advances are prolonging life, long-term palliative care is expensive. Covering the costs associated with old age could be a struggle”. Indeed, according to official statistics people all over the globe now live up to 35 percent longer than hundred years ago and more funds are needed to provide adequate care for the millions of elderly. However, the problem of funding is not the only concern which is related to longer life-span. The risk of over-populating the planet is yet another issue which the world will soon face.

In this respect, most radical commentators were quick to suggest that the only solution to the problem of longer living humans is euthanasia. The proponents of this view contend that with medical advancements even the weakest and the sickest people will survive and live to their late 90s and possible 100s, which will not only lead to a significant increase in global population, but will also negate the fundamental law of the survival of the fittest. In this context, some suggest that euthanasia might be the only way out from the vicious circle of artificially healthy individuals living unnaturally long lives.

The last and probably the most controversial X Factor that will be discussed during the Davos Forum is the possible discovery of extraterrestrial life. While it is the first time that the Forum addresses the aliens, the issue has recently become a frequent theme of discussion among the world leading politicians and military officials. In December 2012, Russian Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev mused on topic of aliens after completing an on-camera interview with international reporters in Moscow. Back then, Mr Medvedev jokingly claimed that “I will not tell you how many of them [aliens] are among us because it may cause panic”. It turns out, however, that Mr Medvedev’s concern with the aliens did not end last December. A shocking Davos Forum agenda aims to bring the topic of aliens beyond the realm of jokes.

WEF experts contend that “given the pace of space exploration, it is increasingly conceivable that we may discover the existence of alien life or other planets that could support human life. In 10 years’ time we may have evidence not only that Earth is not unique but also that life exists elsewhere in the universe.” In this context, WEF team urges the global elite to prepare themselves and their nations for such discovery. The scientists suggest that new funding and new brain power will be needed to overcome the challenges that the humanity will face as a result of its encounter with an extra-terrestrial civilization. The world might even need to create artificial-intelligence emissaries to survive an inter-stellar crossing. The discovery of an Earth 2.0 or life beyond our planet might also inspire new generations of space entrepreneurs to meet the challenge of taking human exploration of the galaxy from the realm of fiction to fact.

At the same time, WEF experts do not believe that the discovery of alien life will change the fabric of human society in the short-run. While the discovery would certainly be one of the biggest news stories of the year and interest would be intense, it would not change the world immediately. Over the long run, however, the psychological and philosophical implications of the discovery could be profound. In the opinion of WEF scientists, “the discovery of even simple life would fuel speculation about the existence of other intelligent beings and challenge many assumptions that underpin human philosophy and religion.”

All in all, it seems that humanity is heading to exciting times, and Davos may be the first trigger that will unleash a series of most extraordinary worldwide revel worldwide revelations.

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_25/Davos-2013-world-leaders-to-discuss-aliens-super-humans-and-immortals/

Tory ministers may vote against staying in EU if Cameron fails to claw back powers

Boris Johnson and other senior Conservatives are warning David Cameron that they may not vote to keep Britain in the European Union unless there is a “significant” repatriation of powers from Brussels.

Senior Conservatives may not vote to keep UK in EU without 'significant' repatriation of powers

Mr Cameron at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Photo: AP
Robert Winnett

By , Political Editor

8:00PM GMT 24 Jan 2013

More than 100 Conservative MPs, including several members of the Cabinet, are prepared to vote “out” in a referendum unless Britain’s relationship with the EU is fundamentally changed after the next election.

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister pledged to renegotiate Britain’s membership and then allow the public a referendum on the revised deal – if he is re-elected in 2015.

Yesterday during a series of interviews at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr Cameron repeatedly stressed that he wanted Britain to remain a member of the EU.

However, he has not yet set out which powers he would like to repatriate to Britain – and the only specific example he has stated is restrictions on the working hours of doctors.

Although his landmark Europe speech was warmly welcomed by most Conservatives, senior figures in the party have indicated that they will seek a British exit from the EU if significant powers are not returned.

Yesterday, Mr Johnson, the London mayor, asked if he would vote to keep Britain in the EU, said: “I can’t say now, but my overwhelming instinct would be that we can get sufficient changes, reforms and improvements to the treaty to make it sensible for most people in my country to vote to stay in the single market.”

Sajid Javid, a Treasury minister, said in an interview with the Spectator magazine: “I would personally consider our options outside the EU [without renegotiation].”

These views are understood to be shared by Cabinet ministers including Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling and Owen Paterson.

One minister said: “There is no division in the Cabinet at all over the position, but there is an expectation among a large group of the party that there will have to be a major renegotiation for ongoing membership to be supported. But, this is now a settled issued until after the election.”

Last night, in an interview with CNN, the Prime Minister said that he would not issue “demands” and then “storm off” if they were not met during negotiations over Britain’s EU membership.

Mr Cameron said: “What we’ve said is we think there’s a whole range of areas where the European Union has legislated too often and gone too far, covering areas like social and employment legislation, environmental legislation…I mean, just one example, the hours that hospital doctors work in Britain is, you know, dictated sometimes by rules [from] Brussels. That really isn’t necessary in an open, flexible, competitive Europe.”

He added: “We’re not putting a list of demands on the table and saying we’ll storm off if we don’t get them. What we’re saying is we should in Europe have changes that will benefit all of the countries of the European Union, but which at the same time will, I think, make Britain more comfortable with her place in the European Union.”

The Prime Minister spent much of yesterday at Davos lobbying other European leaders to support his position. He met with Angela Merkel after the German chancellor said she would consider Britain’s demands for renegotiation.

“They touched briefly on the Prime Minister’s EU speech,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

Mr Cameron also had short meetings with Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish prime minister, Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, Enda Kenny, Ireland’s prime minister and Mario Monti, the Italian prime minister.

Most European leaders stressed that they wished for Britain to remain an active member of the EU.

Last night, Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister, suggested that although he opposed Mr Cameron’s position he may support a future referendum on EU membership.

However, in an interview with The House magazine, he said he was “none the wiser” about what the “great re-negotiation means” as the Coalition was already committed to changing working time laws.

The Liberal Democrat leader said: “It was a well-crafted speech and obviously very well delivered.

“My own view is that it will be a tactical victory today for a strategic mistake tomorrow. Because actually the whole approach hinges not so much on the referendum, but on prior to that, reinventing and resettling the terms of Britain’s membership in the European Union – but I’ve no idea how.

“Changing the working time directive, even I agree with that, we put that in the coalition agreement; a change on fisheries, fine. But in that case, what on earth is all the fuss about? Because anyone would agree to that.”

But, he added: “Or it means a complete wholesale rewriting of the whole terms of the membership of Britain of the European Union within 18 months flat, which I think is wholly implausible.”

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9825074/Tory-ministers-may-vote-against-staying-in-EU-if-Cameron-fails-to-claw-back-powers.html