Personal Reflections on Rising Inequalities: Engaging vs screaming

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Oxfam recently published a new report that once again emphasizes the global imbalances in terms of fair re-distribution of wealth.

No one is anymore surprised by the Oxfam’ report validation that 1% of the population owns more than the rest.

Interesting enough Oxfam is taking a very pragmatic approach by bringing the topic to the Davos World Economic Forum where the elites meet every winter.

Engaging the global capitalists or bashing them? Having a talk with the richest persons of the world over a tea in a five stars hotel or screaming at them in “Occupy the inequalities” sit in in public square or park?

Is it ethically and morally correct for Oxfam for example to be involved and participate in the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism ( led by Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Chief Executive Officer of E.L. Rothschild one of the most emblematic capitalist families in the world?

What about, instead, the radical grassroots efforts of coalitions against the poverty that embed a true sense of disgust towards the capital system?

Which results can a mainstream organization hope to get from advocating with the richest 1%, the same target group so much criticized?

Is it possible to share a fancy workshop with the elitists and at the same time maintaining a clean conscience on behalf of the poorest?

Is there any risk in being associated as too close with the richest companies of the world? Are the same companies involved in the Coalition, genuinely, deeply and morally involved to bring a real change in the way capitalism works that necessarily will have them lose something?

Is there a middle way? I always believe it is possible to find a way that is nor white nor black. Solutions can be found only by engaging those capitalists who play by the rules and are genuinely committed to bring a change in the global economic system.

Impact investment, stronger corporate social responsibilities practices, social businesses, the double or triple bottom lines can really make the difference in the way the world economic system works if they are led and inspired by people who are truly committed to a new world order.

We often talk about perpetrators of the current world order but at the end of the day, many of us are part of the same system.

Too often the big shots of the global capital system do not play by rules and take shortcuts, very profitable shortcuts.

I read recently that Goldman Sachs has to pay some billions dollar fine to the USA financial regulators and it seems that after all it is not a big deal for the bank, probably the most powerful financial institution in the world.

Will this billions dollar fine be enough to make sure that Goldman Sachs will behave in future more ethically?

What about ‘DAS AUTO” Volkswagen after the emission scandal? Will change their behavior simply out of fear of losing market shares or because they have carried out a true introspection?

Maybe it is high time that the common average perpetrator like us, the common man, those who benefit of the system, to take the stand against the bigger perpetrators.

Behaving and making money ethically does not happen only by formally abiding by the laws and therefore by being legitimized in finding new interpretations or loopholes in world financial regulations (See for example the way the major multinationals exploited legal loopholes in the EU countries to avoid pay taxes).

To conclude it is fine to sit in a high workshop with the global capitalism leaders. Let’s play their games in their “homes”, expensive and luxurious settings but let them be clear that the conversation must also happen in ‘away” games, out of their comfort zones where they will have to engage those radicals who would love to get rid of capital system these ultra rich folks represent.

Though proposing extreme radical and often wrong solutions, these folks in streets screaming against the system, have some legitimate concerns.

As they say, while dealing with the turbo capitalists, you have to trust but also verify and the real activists can do the latter job.

Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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