DAVOS-KLOSTERS/SWITZERLAND, 31JAN09 - Peter Gleick, President, Pacific Institute, USA, speaks during the session 'The Politics of Water' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 31, 2009...Copyright by World Economic Forum.swiss-image.ch/Photo by Remy Steinegger
It's already been widely blogged about, but I'll throw my two cents in. Nick Paumgarten has a lengthy article in the March 5 New Yorker about his first trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It's something of a picaresque, in the sense that Paumgarten seems to take it all about half seriously and hangs out with a fair number of Davos attendees who might not fit Samuel Huntington's classic definition of Davos Man. But that's the social-whirl-party-down-oh-look-it's-Chelsea-Clinton aspect.
It's fine, but there are some more interesting parts. Here's my personal favorite:
I walked into a panel one morning in time to hear Kumi Naidoo, the South African human-rights activist who now serves as the executive director of Greenpeace, intone, melodiously, “Those in power ignore the growing frustration and desperation at their own peril.”
Naidoo had been to Davos eleven times, the first eight as the secretary-general of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. “When I came in that capacity, I never could get a C.E.O. to talk to me,” he told me later. “I used to follow them into the toilet. I met Bill Clinton in 2003, when we were standing next to each other at the urinals. When I came as Greenpeace, two years ago, I was amazed how keen they were to meet me. A C.E.O. told me, ‘Some of my peers are eager to have you at their table so they won’t be on your menu.’ ”
He went on, “The problem here is the preference for incremental thinking—baby steps. They talk more about system recovery than about system design.” [my emphasis]
The annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland is underway and reports are that the attendees to this exclusive alpine confab — the 1% if ever there was such a thing — are seriously bummed out over the global state of affairs. Twitter lights up with many comments under the #Davos and #WEF rubric when the event is in session. So how better to capture some of this action than with Storify? And so I have. Your end-of-the-week Davos reading is thusly furnished.
Michael Wuertenberg/World Economic Forum/Flickr
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass), speaking at 'The Next Global Crisis' session of the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 27, 2010, at the Congress Centre.
The World Economic Forum — often described as a gathering of the world's business, government, and financial elites — will touch down in Davos, Switzerland this week. It's currently being much discussed and blogged about, especially given that the repercussions of the financial crisis are still being felt. Unemployment in the U.S. is still alarmingly high, at 8.5 percent. Europe still seems pretty far from fixing the deep problems of the euro and of averting a wider sovereign debt crisis. Growth in the developing world is slowing.
So in a way, Davos 2012 isn't about elitist hobnobbing but rather about Davos saving...itself. The pressing problems of the world aren't on the agenda. The ongoing economic travails of the West are. Writing for Reuters, former White House official Larry Summers offers the following: