Saturday, January 19, 2019

Davos - The World Economic Forum Merits Our Attention!

Gathering Powerful-brokers And Public Servants?
It is that time of year again when the rich, the powerful, and the so-called "movers and shakers," migrate to Davos for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). This is where the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. This means thousands of business, political and cultural leaders from all over the world will return to the snowy mountains of Davos, Switzerland from January 22, until the 25th to discuss the latest global issues.

Such a large gathering of those who "call the shots" merits a bit of sound reflection on our part as to the possible ramifications for the world and it is important and prudent that we at least weigh in on what they plan to do with us in coming years. Around 2,500 participants from more than 100 countries, including many heads of state, will attend the event formally known as the 2019 World Economic Forum. This year, the theme is “Globalization 4.0: Shaping a New Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” As in prior years, some of the key issues high on the agenda are involuntary immigration, extreme weather, and climate change, geopolitical conflict, terrorism, sustainable growth, as well as how robotics and other trends will play out and mold the world in coming years.

Davos, Beautiful, Serene, And Very Expensive!
The tiny town of Davos, Switzerland with a population of just over 11,000 sports a very cold below zero average temperature in January and has been the location of this annual event for decades. Aside from tradition, a major factor elevating this beautiful and serene setting to be chosen as the site hosting this event is security, it is far easier to secure a small town wedged between the mountains than a conference center in a big city. This is very important to the 40 heads of states that are attending. Organizers don't release specific information, but it is estimated that around 5,000 of the finest Swiss troops, police and security personnel guard the town.

Switzerland is famously expensive, and this extends to the WEF and Davos. To start we are talking about the ticket which is around $20,000 and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Travel generally cost thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands as private and government jets descend on the area. Then there is the cost of lodging, a night in a medium-range hotel is around $600, but such accommodations will not do for many of those attending the event. When we add to it wining, dining, and essential accessories like snow boots, the total bill can quickly exceed $40,000. To our so-called "public servants" getting invited to an all paid trip to Davos is the golden ring.

As to who attends this exclusive event the gathering often includes nearly everyone who matters in the world of business. Bill Gates will be there, as will Mary Barra, Satya Nadella, Jack Ma, Eric Schmidt, Sheryl Sandberg and dozens of other CEOs. This will give them face time with the IMF chief Christine Lagarde, with ECB President Mario Draghi and the governors of many national central banks. This year, however, some players will be missing, Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron and now Theresa May have all decided to skip the conference in order to attend to their respective crises. On Thursday the White House announced the cancellation of American officials attending following an initial scaling back of the US delegation to the gathering due to the government's partial shutdown. Still, as usual, those in attendance will be closely followed by a massive group of journalists hoping for interviews and a moment in the spotlight.

As noted earlier organizers of this premier gala pull out all stops to insure a safe conference.
  • Security includes two surface-to-air missile systems.
  • About 100 of the 2,500 participants get special security coverage.
  • Attendees will be hemmed in by over 46 kilometers of fences.
  • Zurich Airport will contend with about 1,000 additional plane and helicopter takeoffs and landings during the meeting.

The Bash Includes Parties To Cajole And Influence
Each year as this "ultimate extravagant" unfolds I seem to get a pain in my stomach that some might consider envy, but having attended my share of events I consider it more of a sickening feeling related to the over the top self-importance of many attending. It often seems my angst is directed mostly at the politicians and such that have their travel expense picked up by governments. How ironic that we pay the same clowns that create so many of our problems to gather in luxury to discuss their deeds. I find it so interesting that someone flying across the globe on a private aircraft can sit down and discuss their environmental concerns and how each of us must do more to save the planet.

I should add this giant high dollar bash also includes the parties needed to cajole, influence, and build future connections to insure a good spot at the table in coming events. The topics holding the spotlight often are focused on issues related to wealth, whether it has to do with stock price swings, bonds, or commodities. The distribution of societal benefits tends to take a backseat to those at Davos. This year it seems participants are getting a little jittery with several world events such as the increase in yellow vest sales, troubling trade wars, and economic growth slowing in China. As usual many of the people attending have a great deal of interest in keeping the good times rolling whether by pseudo-economics, hocus-pocus, or any other policy that extends the good times.

If I sound cynical it could be because I suspect this gathering in Davos is not for our benefit but more for plutocrats like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon's Jeff Bezos that desire to "break the world" with their ruthless corporate agendas that continue to monopolize political power in the hands of the globalist elite. To counter this already reassuring words are being cast out over the airwaves to us, the minions of the world, to encourage faith in their wisdom. An example from prior years is how IMF chief Christine Lagarde said the Chinese economy is unlikely to see 'hard landing' and it would be in the interest of the world that China returns to a sustained growth path. With such startling and revealing statements it is no wonder she is hailed as such a world renown financial leader.

Oh, what a tangled web those in charge of our fate have woven for us as they rush to sell and bargain away our freedom for power and wealth. Paris is burning, a huge chunk of the US federal government is shut down, Britain is tilted towards an ugly place as the Brexit process slips into chaos, and conflicts abound. The surge in populism sweeping the Western world indicates something is wrong and while the growing backlash may baffle the global elites who see Davos as an opportunity, some of us have come to see Davos, as a notorious rendezvous for the world's elite that always seem to give us the honor of paying for their schemes in some way or form.

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Footnote; This is an extension of a topic I have written about before, I do not hold in high regard those in Washington and across the world who love power and access to the public purse. It seems they can always come up with a justification for the outlandish and the absurd, to those making the rules, the cost is often not relevant. It is not uncommon to see our public servants, some as low as a mayor or agency head climbing out of a limousine and being wined and dined, as they go about their "fact-finding missions" all paid for by the taxpayer. The article below written years ago looks into whether these people are really public servants or simply part of the "new elite."

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