Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The World’s Elites Meet in Davos to Solve our Problems?

The World’s Elites Meet in Davos to Solve our Problems?

The world’s elites are meeting at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.  This is one of several annual gatherings where the business, financial, academic, and political leaders gather to attend various high-minded sessions[1] and of course mingle.  If you are thinking of attending, the cost is $70,000 with discounts available if you want to bring along some colleagues or members of your family. Politicians and central bankers are bait to lure high-powered executives to Davos, so I don’t believe the US taxpayers have to pay for Treasury Secretary Lew or other government officials to attend. The goal of the conference is nothing less than “improving the state of the world.”
Long Mutual Fund Meeting 3 (1999)
Davos is where the global 1% goes to discuss how they can solve our problems.  Whether it is war, poverty, climate change, or disease, Davos covers it.  We’re not invited and our opinions aren’t solicited because the global 1% knows what is best for the rest of us.  The WEF demonstrates that the 1%, whether they’re from Japan, China, the UK, or the US, have more in common with one another than their countrymen.

As it turns out, not everyone shows up at Davos.  Andrew Ross Sorkin, the editor of The New York Times’s Dealbook, laments that many of the elite aren’t showing up this year.[2]  Mr. Sorkin will be covering the event.  He concludes his lament by saying, “its easy to understand why it is so difficult to make progress on the big issues when so many key people are not in the room.”

What progress?  This is the 44th meeting of the WEF, and the world has made very little progress on the issues that form the basis of the Davos conclave.   Moreover, it is preposterous to think that a three or four day meeting of the world’s elite will produce progress on anything other than advancing the interests of the 1%.  I am sure that businesses make all sorts of progress over coffee or drinks, while the high-minded agenda serves as a useful cover.  The attendees feel inspired after discussing the world’s problems.  However, all they’ve accomplished is to make the gap between them and us a little bit wider.  It’s sad that a reporter has bought into the culture of Davos.

[1] Here’s the program, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/AM14/WEF_AM14_Programme_Public_A5C2512E1D.pdf
[2] http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/01/20/notable-in-their-absence-from-davos/?_php=true&_type=blogs&module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=DealBook%20Column&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body&_r=0

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