Davos: Where epic shifts are converging

By Felix Salmon
January 10, 2011
differ on whether Davos is actually important. I say it isn't, and Exhibit A is this invitation, which I received today.

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Chrystia and I differ on whether Davos is actually important. I say it isn’t, and Exhibit A is this invitation, which I received today. There will be many, many more like it arriving over the next couple of weeks:


The whole thing, obviously, is [sic]. But Davos does tend to attract the kind of people who can straight-facedly pretend to believe that entering the human age, or the New Reality, or unleash and leverage human potential as the key competitive differentiator to win, or entering a new era, or epic shifts are converging, or talent is the new ‘it’ actually mean something.

The panel that these people have put together is prototypical Davos: dean of this, best-selling author of that, general secretary of the other, plus a CEO and a corporate president. There’s no shared expertise here, and there won’t be any real debate. Instead, they’ll all intone sonorously in an attempt to appear visionary and important, as jet-lagged delegates ask themselves why on earth they dragged themselves out of bed at 7am Swiss time (which is 1am New York time) to listen to such pablum.

The main purpose of these panels is to make their sponsors—in this case, CNBC and Manpower—feel important, as they splash their logos around in front of a select group of the most important people in the world. They either don’t know or, more likely, don’t care that their panel discussions look utterly ridiculous. Just about everything in Davos is ridiculous in its own way. It’s like Disneyland. So long as you suspend your disbelief, you’re fine.


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Stop quoting from The Onion, Felix.

Posted by davew | Report as abusive

Davos is one of the two places- the other being St. Barth’s on New Years Eve – that offers a targetable sufficiency in one place of the sort of people who have contributed the most to, and extracted the most egregious rents from, the general degradation of life and values. A wish for the general betterment of mankind argues that this factor not be neglected, although to take advantage of this would require the development of a kind of psychology-based neutron bomb: a weapon that would turn to mush the minds of the self-absorbed, pompous, trite, bootlicking, self-congratulatory, arrogant, doctrinaire and greedy – that is, anyone with three or more points of resemblance to, say, Stephen Schwarzman or Mitch McConnell- while leaving the commonsensical, decent and open-minded in full possession of their faculties and in control of the global purse.

Posted by midasw | Report as abusive

A smart lad would have figured out how to wangle a boondoggle to Davos for ‘reporting’, and then gone skiing. A smarter lad would simply spend his own money and be in Vail. 14″ of fresh powder.

None of these conferences do anything. Do you really think greedy Plutocrats are going to share trade secrets on plunder techniques. Even more, that Economists have any clue as to existential reality.

But, I managed to seriously augment my baseball cap inventory back when IT conferences were in vogue. Also, super balls, especially ones with the kinetic lights inside.

Posted by ARJTurgot2 | Report as abusive

Way to go Felix! I look forward to more Davos ‘reports’ from you.

Posted by Gotthardbahn | Report as abusive

Oh, yes – our CEO is just all a twitter about making the Davos scene this year, just like last year. I suspect that it’s the only reason she keeps the job – other than the immense salary, of course…

Posted by Old49Tom | Report as abusive

This is very “though provoking.”

Posted by levinsontodd | Report as abusive

Perhaps the world is ready for “Debbie Does Davos”, with various interesting personas from Russia, Saudi Arabia, USA, Italy, France, Germany, …
Might end up with more enemies than Julian A.

Posted by Neurochuck | Report as abusive