Inequality was a major topic on Wednesday, the first formal day of the WEF.
"We have a big problem in the United States," David Rubenstein, co-founder of private equity heavyweight Carlyle Group, said during a panel discussion on economic growth.
"If our GDP growth is 3.5 percent, that sounds great—corporate profits are terrific, stock prices are high—but what about the people left behind?" asked Rubenstein, himself a billionaire.
Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told CNBC on Wednesday that middle-class incomes have not kept pace with the economic recovery.
Growth needs to be equally distributed, Summers said, "so we have a 'race to the top' rather than 'race to the bottom' when it comes to questions like taxation and regulation."
The blame for inequality, according to billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, is with central banks.
Singer repeated his longstanding contention that economic stimulus programs like quantitative easing have artificially inflated asset prices, which have disproportionately benefited the relatively small amount of those who can afford to invest.
"The mispricing that exists in world financial markets … is exacerbating inequality and at the very time that investors are doing well to very well," Singer said on a panel.
"The inequality is a function, actually, of government policy, and social unrest is a function of the inequality and the seeming growing distortion," he added.
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