Every January a powerful group of global leaders descend upon Davos in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting.
The invitation-only event hosts heads and members of more than 100 governments, executives from 1000 global companies, leaders of international organisations and relevant NGOs.
Prominent cultural, societal and thought leaders, and disruptive voices come together at the beginning of each year “to define priorities and shape global, industry and regional agendas”.
If you watch nothing else from this year’s event make it this four-minute video with Oxfam International Director Winnie Byanyima and watch it to the very end.
What you *really* need to see is @Winnie_Byanyima’s epic takedown of an angry Yahoo CFO in 2nd half of this video. "So don't tell me about low levels of unemployment. You're not counting dignity of people. You're counting exploited people." https://t.co/AepvI2bZWY
— Rutger Bregman (@rcbregman) January 29, 2019
She is on a panel discussing The Cost of Inequality in which her fellow panellist, historian Rutger Bregman, noted that tax avoidance is the gigantic elephant in the room that cannot be ignored.
“You can't have a thriving economy without healthy people, a well-educated workforce, rule of law, and infrastructure.” – @Winnie_Byanyima. Interesting discussions on the cost of inequality on the @TIME led panel @davos #WEF19. pic.twitter.com/v2tjhBs0c6
— Steve Davis (@SteveDavisPATH) January 25, 2019
The resulting discussion angered an audience member, a former Yahoo CFO, who suggested tax avoidance isn’t an issue given strong employment in America for example.
Winnie Byanyima obliterates his suggestion by zeroing in on the quality of ’employment’.
“So don’t tell me about low levels of unemployment,” she said. “You’re not counting the dignity of people. You’re counting exploited people.”
Hey @rcbregman – I totally enjoyed our double act in Davos.
Let's keep banging the drum to tax the rich and for good jobs!
…and exposing the harms of billionaire greed. #fightinequality https://t.co/BtVjbaHp3x
— Winnie Byanyima (@Winnie_Byanyima) January 29, 2019
Underemployment and exploitation might not be captured in official employment figures but it’s a farce to suggest they aren’t at play.
The winners of #Davos19 are @Winnie_Byanyima and @rcbregman . As someone who's spent so much time at elite conferences as a speaker, it is refreshing to hear someone identify the problem in the world: the audiences of these conferences aren't paying their fair share in taxes.
— CharityTillemannDick (@CharityTD) January 29, 2019
It is an uncomfortable truth, as indicated by the former Yahoo executive’s reaction, but that is exactly why it’s so powerful.
Speaking truth to power is rarely seen and rarely welcomed. It’s no wonder this clip in which Byanyima and Bregman do both has gone viral.