The year 2017 will go down as a particularly tough one for ordinary citizens, particularly in the global South. A sharp rise in government restrictions on fundamental freedoms across regions, as well as in levels of inequality, played a big part in that negative review.
According to a recent Oxfam report, 1% of the world’s richest elites now own 82% of the world’s wealth, with a dollar billionaire having been created every two days in 2017.
But we are witnessing people actively fighting back against a system that largely favors the super-rich at the expense of everyone else. According to the CIVICUS Monitor, an online tool that tracks threats to civil society in every country, there were at least 42 reports of activism leading to positive developments for civic space in 2017.
However, it’s not only activists challenging the status quo. Also, ordinary citizens are doing so by turning to innovations that promote alternative economies — such as ‘sharing economy’ platforms and cryptocurrencies, for example – to enable them to function in countries where repression is commonplace and only the rich can transact.