Thousands of members of the global elite are descending upon Davos, Switzerland this week for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. The summit will have the world’s richest and most powerful rubbing shoulders with politicians and regulators, all under the theme of “creating a shared future in a fractured world.”

Will the Davos panels count the divide between the mega rich and the rest of the world as one of those fractures? Advocacy groups are working hard to ensure that inequality stays in the public eye, regardless of what happens at the forum.

A new Oxfam report, released to coincide with Davos, has found that 82 percent of the wealth created in 2017 went to the top one percent of the global population — a group that’s certainly overrepresented at this week’s gathering. Meanwhile a coalition of inequality organizations is pushing our planet’s grand divide into the social media spotlight, reminding us that our vast disparities remain designed, not inevitable

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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When Wall Street Becomes Your Landlord
When José Rivera moved into his house, he thought he was on the path to home ownership. But after paying more than $90,000 in rent, he’s facing eviction instead. Rivera is just one of the many renters featured in a just-released report looking at the new frontier of financialization in the housing market. The study’s authors shine a light on the private equity firms buying up homes and the tenants organizing to hold their new landlords accountable.
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Auctioneers: Don’t Mess with This Billionaire
The 78-year-old Leslie Wexner, the billionaire owner of Victoria’s Secret, must love the 18th century. He spent a small fortune restoring England’s Foxcote House, one of the UK’s grandest country mansions, into a “gentleman’s shooting estate” worth $30 million. Every October, during pheasant season, Wexner helicopters in his business buddies for “shooting parties in the best British tradition.” But these days the fashion mogul is fuming because he can’t pull up to the Foxcote House — or his $47-million “mock-Georgian estate” in Ohio — in the 1954 classic Ferrari he bought at auction last year for $16.5 million. Turns out that the ownership of the race car “has been in dispute since 1997.” Wexner is demanding a full “refund and damages” from the Bonhams auction house.
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Do the Poor Deserve Decent Health Care?
The state of Kentucky worked a veritable medical miracle between 2013 and 2016. With federal help, state officials cut the share of low-income Kentuckians without health insurance from 40 percent to less than eight percent. But right-wingers now run the state, and they’re teaming up with the Trump administration to reverse those gains. America’s “free market” billionaires couldn’t be more pleased. co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on

Louise Russell-Prywata, How Corruption Drives Inequality. To build the political will to end impunity, we need to do more to expose the problem and give voice to those most acutely affected.

Peter Bakvis, It’s Time to End the World Bank’s Biased Business Regulation Ratings. After years of criticism from labor unions and other progressive groups, the Bank’s own chief economist is accusing his colleagues of ideologically-driven data manipulation.

Jessicah Pierre, America, Oprah is Not Your Savior. The U.S. has a history of looking to black women to save Americans from themselves — while not recognizing or respecting their efforts.

Elsewhere on the web:

Josh Hoxie, Apple Avoided $40 Billion in Taxes. Now It Wants a Gold Star? Fortune. The tech giant’s announcement about paying taxes and investing in the United States is a political scam at its ugliest.

Lindsay Koshgarian, Trump Just Made it Easier to Deny Medicaid to Those Who Need It, Fortune. The move to allow states to require ‘proof of work’ is punitive and counter-productive — not to mention hypocritical.

Michael Paarlberg and Teófilo Reyes, Paying Tipped Workers Better Wouldn’t Lead to Fewer Restaurant Jobs, The Washington Post. New research bolsters campaigns to increase the minimum wage for tipped workers.

John Doyle, Our fascination with the super-rich on TV and at the movies is dangerous, Toronto Globe and Mail. If we see the mega rich as entertainment, we underestimate the impact of vast private fortunes.

Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen, A Powerful Economic Justice Movement Is Brewing, Even in This Dark Time, AlterNet. Understanding and overcoming the free-market ideology behind Trumpism.

Pam Martens and Russ Martens, Just How Big a Player Is the Federal Reserve in the Stock Market? Wall Street on Parade. Fed policy and corporate tax cuts out of Washington have the rich on a record roll.

Michael Goldfarb, From the Country Club To the White House, The New York Times. Understanding the mindset of the Mar-a-Lago crowd.
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