Davos 2020: Business As Usual Will Fuel An Age Of Anger, Says Sharan Burrow
Sharan Burrow. (Source: BloombergQuint)

Davos 2020: Business As Usual Will Fuel An Age Of Anger, Says Sharan Burrow

The current economic model has failed the working people, according to Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

There is a community that says that “business as usual is about what governments can do for us not what we can do for people and shared prosperity”, she told BloombergQuint on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “That has to shift or we are all in a vortex.”

The failure of governments to regulate labour markets has led to people in formal sectors working in poverty and has left out people in informal sectors, she said.

With this, corporate greed has widened inequality, she said, adding that corporates don’t need to pay higher taxes to help solve income inequality. they just need to pay what they are supposed to. “If companies just pay their share of taxation, without even increased taxation, that would be helpful.”

Davos 2020: Business As Usual Will Fuel An Age Of Anger, Says Sharan Burrow

Heading To Age of Anger

Almost 60 percent of the global labour force is in the informal sector with “no rights, no minimum wage, (and) no rule of law”, Burrow said.

The governments have led attacks on social protection, minimum wages and collective bargaining, she said. “It is because they are being carried by greed of corporates.”

If the economies do not deal with the inequality crisis, coupled with the climate emergency and unemployment, the world will witness an “age of anger,” Burrow said.

If the same economic model continues, humans will face extinction, she said. “You can’t have more of the same otherwise we face extinction of the human race with climate crisis and we face an age of anger, which you are seeing everywhere because people are living in despair.”

People don’t spend their time being angry for no reason.
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation

India’s Case

India has a divide between those who feel secured and those who don’t, she said. “And the massive people who feel insecure are actually working people.”

It’s not only trade unions that want change but also farmers, the youth and women, Burrow said. “The Gandhi tradition of a peaceful democracy, of a development model that is inclusive, is broken. It (India) is a classic example of where the government has failed to regulate the labour market.”

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