The global elite is a loosely defined group of the richest and most powerful people in the world, including "politicians, central bankers, chief executives and lesser mortals" like those who gather at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, traditionally held near the end of January.
The "elite" is partly defined by wealth, featuring the world's millionaires and billionaires. Some of them work for large corporations such as Goldman Sachs and Bank of America. Others include successful entrepreneurs in the emerging markets of India and the People's Republic of China. Due to an Internet-connected society that is growing at a rapid pace despite recent economic woes, East Africa is also reaching the top list of global economic relevance. Many millionaires can be found in that region, especially in South Africa, where 80% of the twenty wealthiest residents are self-employed. Members of the global elite may tend to be insular and benefit from unregulated capitalism. Some of them may form a "transnational leisure class," sometimes depicted as "the beautiful people," whose influence transcends the boundaries of nations to form a worldwide social group based on a "trinity" of glamour, wealth and power. The global elite also normally send their children to boarding schools in Switzerland and United Kingdom.
In the wake of the Great Recession, a separate economy for the global elite has appeared to have recovered while the economy for the working class is still under large elements of turmoil. Innovations made by the elite corporations (for example, the search engine Google, the multinational electronic commerce site Amazon.com and the iPhone line of smart phones) improved the lot of the working-class people while granting their creators significant levels of wealth. Most of the Internet elites are highly educated people who made their own wealth. They tend to hold mixed feelings towards their peers who have failed in their education.
The global elite are regarded by many as the "movers and shakers of the world economy," while others caution that their power over the world economy is very limited. Conspiracists accuse them of using secretive societies like the Bilderberg Group and the Council on Foreign Relations to manipulate world events.
In Canada, a person needs to make at least $191,100 per year in order to count as a member of the global elite while their subordinates are making $80,400 a year at the most. The majority of the Canadian global elite live in Calgary, Toronto and Edmonton.
Effect on the economy
The emerging clique of super-rich business people are practically becoming their own nation, buying houses outside their country of primary residence, for example. Members of the global elite may hold a globalist perspective and not contribute to the economic growth of their home countries.
The global elite may hide trillions of British pounds inside off-shore havens like the Cayman Islands and Switzerland through the help of privately owned banks. It has been suggested that closing the tax loopholes that allow these tax havens to exist may diminish the power of the global elite and allow federal governments to pay off their fiscal deficits sooner. Leaders from the G-20 member nations have been trying to shut down areas that are designated as "tax havens" since the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis, when the private banks threatened to complicate the stability of the global monetary system.
- "48 hours in Davos mixing power and powder", Reuters, January 23, 2012
- "The economics of politics", Financial Times, January 23, 2012
- "Global elite ponders a return from the brink", Irish Times, January 1, 2011
- "Global elite at Davos gives thumbs down to economic focus", Manila Times, January 20, 2005
- "World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 Executive Summary document" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-22.
- It’s not a conspiracy! Elite controls global economy at RT.com
- Working Wealthy Predominate the New Global Elite at NYTimes.com
- 10 African Millionaires to Watch at Forbes.com
- SA's rich are getting richer at South Africa News 24
- "Global Elite: The New Class", Tri City Herald, October 21, 1968
- The Rise of the New Global Elite at TheAtlantic.com
- "Davos guide: what you need to know about the World Economic Forum", The Guardian, January 21, 2012
- Who are Canada's top 1%? at CBC.ca
- Secretary Clinton calls for taxing the global elite ‘in an equitable manner’ at Raw Story
- £13tn hoard hidden from taxman by global elite at the Guardian