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GİLA BENMAYOR >An example from Turkey for future capitalism

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According to the World Economic Forum, the global economy is more than five times larger than it was half a century ago.

Global per capita GDP has more than doubled over the same period. The World Bank estimates that the share of the global population living in extreme poverty has fallen below 10 percent for the first time ever.

However, something has obviously also gone wrong along the way. 

The report recently issued by Oxfam before the World Economic Forum at Davos illustrates this well. According to the report, the wealth of the eight richest people in the world ($426 billion) is equal to the poorest 3.6 billion people - in other words half of the world. 

Such a sharp increase between the rich and the poor is no doubt one of the key signs of the crisis that the capitalist system is suffering from. 

Another sign is the steady erosion of the middle class, which is considered one of the main reasons why Donald Trump has come to power in the United States. 

For the first time in many years, the middle does not represent the majority in the U.S. The total income of the lowest and the highest earners has left behind the middle class in the U.S. 

In Europe, meanwhile, the middle class is eroding and its share of welfare is decreasing. 

The French Socialist Party has selected Benoit Hamon, a proponent of the “universal basic income,” as its presidential candidate in order to counter the negative effects of globalization. This is proof of the political classes search for an answer in the transformation of capitalism. 

Leftist economist Thomas Piketty also supports Hamon’s universal wage formula. According to this formula, at first whoever needs it will receive 600 euros. To finance this, the tax ratio of high earners will be increased, while “robots” will also pay tax. 

The World Economic Forum states that today the private sector has the opportunity to develop a new model to transform capitalism. According to this, companies will not only pursue profits but will also pioneer the equal distribution of welfare in society and a happier life for people.    

I recently had the opportunity to meet with a Turkish businessperson who is searching for a model for future capitalism. With 7,000 employees and extensive technological equipment, the founder of Ekol Logistişcs, Ahmet Musul, owns one of the leading logistics firms in Turkey and Europe. 

According to the model Musul is preparing to carry out, he will disown his shares in the company before 2020, while 40 percent of the value that the company generates will be distributed to its employees. The remaining 60 percent will be used as a contribution to the company’s capital. “The company’s shares will therefore not belong to anyone. There will not be an owner of the company,” he says. 

“I feel bad among my employees because of my shares, as they mean that I cannot debate with my employees equally,” he adds. 

However, Musul will only be able to found the company structure he has imagined under the umbrella of a foundation in Holland, because the law in Turkey is not suitable for such a plan.  

Musul believes that personal wealth should be restricted and says inheritance causes the erosion of value. This is all quite surprising, right?

February/07/2017

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