By Charles Passy
Don’t get Bernie Sanders started on the subject of Davos.
The Vermont independent senator and former presidential candidate, who identifies as a democratic socialist, has little use for the annual World Economic Forum gathering in the Switzerland city. The event, simply referred to as “Davos,” is one that typically attracts some of the wealthiest and most influential people in the world, with this year’s attendees including Bill Gates and George Soros .
But Sanders sees little point to the proceedings. “The oligarchs in Davos party, the poor suffer,” he tweeted in a post that’s drawn almost 5,000 likes on Twitter /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +0.39% .
In another tweet, which drew 11.7K likes and counting, he referred to a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in describing the “obscene income and wealth inequality” seen today.
Sanders is not alone in his assessment. “Davos” has been trending on Twitter this week. And the forum comes as the global charity Oxfam reported that the COVID-19 pandemic creates a new billionaire every 30 hours — yet a million people could fall into poverty at the same rate this year. What’s more, 573 new billionaires have cropped up during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the food and energy sectors, Oxfam said.
Billionaires around the world — particularly those in the food and energy sectors — raked it in during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbating wealth inequality at a time when low-income people were becoming poorer and sicker , MarketWatch’s Emma Ockerman reported. In fact, 573 new billionaires have cropped up in the past two years of the global health crisis, according to a report from , released just as the world’s elite and ultra-wealthy convened in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum this week. That means the pandemic created a billionaire “at the rate of one every 30 hours,” the report said, all while an estimated 263 million more people were expected to fall into extreme poverty this year, a rate of 1 million people every 33 hours.
And many users, including some of those responding to his tweets, shared similar views.
And even Chris Talgo, managing editor of the StoppingSocialism.com website, wrote a piece defending Sander’s comments. Talgo noted that many of the world’s most pressing issues, from “skyrocketing inflation” to “a looming worldwide food shortage,” are going ignored at Davos.
“Make no mistake, I rarely, if ever, agree” with Sanders, Talgo wrote. “Yet, I must say when it comes to his assessment of the World Economic Forum’s latest gathering in Davos…we are simpatico.”
Many climate change activists have also been questioning the carbon footprint of the world’s richest and most influential people flocking to Switzerland.
The World Economic Forum organizers have tried to address this. They encourage train travel to the event, for example. And they say they have offset 100% of the carbon emissions from the organization’s activities over the last five years by supporting environmental projects. But plenty of people still aired their complaints online.
Of course, some have fired back at Sanders in various ways. In particular, some commentators on Twitter pointed to how Sanders recently voiced his approval for providing $40 billion in U.S. military and humanitarian support to Ukraine in its fight against Russia. One noted that the money could have “fed a lot of Americans.”
Sanders and officials with the World Economic Forum didn’t immediately reply to MarketWatch requests for comment.