The World Economic Forum opened today in Davos, Switzerland.
I wasn’t invited. Neither were you, in all likelihood. Bill Gates always is and will make his standard pitch for assisting the world’s poorest.
For decades, the global political and business elite have gathered at the WEF meeting to discuss, deliberate and declaim on all manner of issues.
Economics can pretty much incorporate any issue it wants, given either the scope of this ‘dismal science‘ or perhaps its increasingly unwieldy definition as to what it is economists actually do. So people here talk about almost anything.
Unless they don’t want to.
Last year, I noted that a significant number of participants and pundits asked if Davos was even relevant anymore.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the spread of the Arab Spring from Tunisia to Egypt. Yet at last year’s hobnob gathering of the upper one percentile, nary a peep was heard about this world-changing popular revolution. Even weirder, WEF was celebrating Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif as one of the world’s top model young leaders.
Some said then that WEF at Davos had become worse than irrelevant given that many of these who come here to talk about finding economic solutions to the global meltdown actually built the fire — and are those who continue to profit from the global inequity they say they want to fix.
One of the most newsworthy (and kind of funny) moments last year was when mega-banker CEO Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase complained about people picking on bankers. The reaction Dimon provoked only provided more evidence, many said, of how clueless are the elite at this meeting.
Since then, the Occupy Movement has emerged like an angry swamp blob, with about as much clarity of purpose say its critics.
But Occupy is now in Davos to greet the elite, a sign of the times. Meanwhile, Desmond Tutu is there also, trying to get people to stop pointing fingers and instead work together to actually solve problems. Continue reading