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?”

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


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.

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Youth unemployment could tear Europe apart, warns WEF

Crime rates will soar, economies will stagnate and Europe’s social fabric will   deteriorate if policymakers do not act to address youth unemployment, World   Economic Forum report warns

World Survey

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By , and Sam Dodge

8:00AM GMT 15 Nov 2013


A lost generation of jobless youth in the eurozone could tear the single   currency apart if nothing is done to address chronic levels of unemployment,   the World Economic Forum (WEF) has warned.

“There is a growing consensus on the fact that unless we address chronic   joblessness we will see an escalation in social unrest,” said S. D. Shibulal   , chief executive oof Infosys, who contributed to the WEF’s Global Agenda   Report.

“People, particularly the youth, need to be productively employed, or we will   witness rising crime rates, stagnating economies and the deterioration of   our social fabric,” he added.

John Lipsky, who served as acting managing director of the International   Monetary Fund during the height of the Greek crisis in 2011, said the   problem was likely to get worse before it got better.

He told the Telegraph: “Right now it’s hard to see any decisive move back   the other way at a time in which everyone feels their circumstances are   under threat and are worried about their economic future.”

Mr Lipsky, who contributed to the WEF report, said rigid labour laws meant   existing workers were offered more attractive employment rights than their   younger counterparts.

“We all know it’s true that if it’s easier to dismiss a worker when things   don’t work out, that makes you more willing to take a chance on hiring   somebody,” he said.

“I myself have had the experience of finding that restrictive practices   make you very reluctant to take on the burden of an employee unless you’re   absolutely sure that you can sustain them.”

He said that while it was viewed as “cruel and heartless” to make it   easier for employers to dismiss unproductive workers, relaxing labour laws   and fostering greater labour mobility was essential if young workers were to   get a “toehold in the economy”.

He said the rigidity of current laws meant many younger workers were hired on   temporary contracts, without the same privileges and job security as   permanent employees.

The WEF report, which examined ten key issues that would shape the world in   2014, called on governments to work together to tackle the crisis and resist   moving towards a protectionist agenda.

Mr Shibulal called on governments to equip young people with the skills and   training needed to cope with evolving labour market demands.

The financial crisis has seen unemployment soar to record highs in some parts of Europe. The jobless rate is currently 26.6pc in Spain, while in Greece, the rate is 27.6pc. However, the youth unemployment rate is as high as 75pc in some parts of Greece.

“A generation that starts its career in complete hopelessness will be more   prone to populist politics and will lack the fundamental skills that one   develops early on in their career,” the report said.

“This can undermine the future of European integration as the countries   with the highest youth unemployment rate are on the periphery.”

Meanwhile, the WEF report also warned of a rising lack of confidence in   economic policies, caused by the impact of the financial crisis.

A survey by the Pew Research Center found that 99pc of Greek respondents to   its attitudes survey felt the situation in their country was bad.

This compares to 83pc of UK respondents and just 10pc in China. Meanwhile,   95pc of Greeks said the economics system in their country favoured the   wealthy, compared with 60pc of Americans and 44pc of Australians.

“People put too much belief in policymakers’ ability to heal the crisis,”   said Mr Lipsky, who currently works at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced   International Studies. “The weakness of the recovery suggested that   policymakers were either feckless or powerless.”

The report also said tensions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) would   be high on the global agenda next year. Cyber threats and Asia’s growing   middle class were also cited among the ten trends, as was widening income   disparities.

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

Jan 25, 2013 15:01 Moscow Time

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© 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.