A new ad campaign will hit the streets of London today, drawing attention to a surprisingly unrecognised state of affairs: the City of London is the tax haven in our own backyard. While the British government is busy protecting banker’s bonuses, a global grass roots campaign has set up to take on the rules which create the institutionalised inequality which sees 0.1% of the world’s population owning 81% of the world’s wealth, while 8 million people will die this year because they are too poor stay alive. It’s time to help make The Rules.
The Way it Works Isn’t Working
The 2005 United Nations World Summit, before the bloated banking sector crashed the global economy, revealed the system was well broken before the crash;
- Half the world lives on less than $2 a day
- 30,000 children die every single day due to poverty
- 2 billion people have no access to electricity
- 20% of people in the highest-income countries consume 86% of the world’s resources. The poorest 20% account for a minuscule 1.3%
A recent study showed that the neoliberal policies of the last thirty years have seen such a decline in social mobility that capitalism’s so called ‘meritocracy’ delivers results no better than the medieval oligarchy. In fact, the top 1% of earners now pocket 10p in every £1 earned in Britain – an increase of 7% in the last fifteen years. The poorest half of the population taking home just 18p – dropping 1% during the same period.
The story in the US is similar. Robert Reich, former US Labour Secretary under Bill Clinton commented:
“Income inequality and wealth inequality even more so, are worse in the United States since the 1920s, and by some measures since the 1890s. Most of the economic gains in the past 25 years have gone to the top 15-20 percent of Americans, but more recently, in the past six to seven years, most of the economic gains have gone to the top one percent. . . . The average CEO is making about 380 times more than the average worker – a huge gap relative to what it used to be 40 years ago – it was about 30 times.”
Whilst wages, working conditions and social security for the majority of the world are being undermined, the conditions of the 1% continue to improve as the rules which govern the world are bent in their favour. It is time we stopped living in a fantasy land of ‘trickle-down economics’ and ‘anyone can make it if they try’ fairy tales.
The Rules – A Campaign We Need to Get Behind
The campaign, which encompasses phone boxes (60 in all across the capital), a mobile billboard, viral video, postcards (and more) will run from today to the 24th March, is being brought to the UK by new anti-poverty initiative – The Rules - on behalf of people from the majority world who have signed a petition by people online and via a new mobile innovation called Crowdring, which enables people to sign a petition via dialling a ‘missed call’. This is a similar mechanism to Indian anti-corruption campaign of 2011, which became the biggest petition-type campaign ever seen, allowing people to participate without internet access and at very low cost.
“Our world has never been more connected or more prosperous than it is today. Yet right now, one in every three of us alive today does not have access to the most basic needs for a decent life – food, education, medical care, a safe environment.
The good news is that for the first time, ordinary citizens like you and I have the power and ability to change the rules that are creating these injustices. Technology and the shift of global power mean that we can now demand our say in decisions that have traditionally been made by elites behind closed doors. But the truth is, these things will only change if we demand it.”
The campaign operates as a decentralised network with several campaign hubs around the world, including in Johannesburg, Mumbai, New York and Rio. The focus of these hubs is to identify issues, opportunities, technologies and regional strategies for each campaign.
The ‘engine room’ for their campaigns is the Working Group, which is made up of more than 70 people from around the world. Members come as individual volunteers, not as representatives of their respective organisations. They come from a broad range of organisations – from civil society, to grassroots advocacy groups, to policy think tanks, to technology providers.
The sole objective of the Working Group is to help create campaigns for viable, alternative rules that serve the interests of the world’s majority, with disproportionate benefit to the poor, vulnerable and marginalised among us.
There will be a day of action on 16 March, where representatives from the majority world, The Rules and UK activists from groups such as Occupy and UK Uncut will all come together to transform a space in the City of London into a ‘tropical tax haven’. Pete the Temp has been confirmed to MC.
So, spread the word and join the campaign. It is time to stop complaining about the rules, and start rewriting them.
Join The Rules campaign and be a part of the solution