Davos’s status levels

By Felix Salmon
January 19, 2012

Here’s my infographic on the badges at Davos, put together with the invaluable help of Alex Leo and Juno Lee.

I actually snapped a photo of the white-with-hologram badge — pretty much the top badge you can get at Davos — a couple of years ago, although I didn’t know what it meant at the time. Technically, the purpose of the hologram is to let the Davos security people know who’s allowed into IGWEL meetings. But the real purpose is to make everybody who doesn’t have a hologram feel a little bit left out.

Wonderfully, in his piece on why he isn’t going to Davos, Mohamed El-Erian calls for even more layers of exclusivity: “To be more productive, and more useful,” he writes, Davos meetings “need to be much less inclusive at some key moments. Very difficult (and highly delicate) decisions have to be made about who to involve in certain meetings and who to exclude. This would require additional (and closely monitored) status levels for participants.”

I can assure Mohamed that the WEF already spends a mind-boggling amount of time making difficult and delicate decisions about who to involve in certain meetings — none more so than IGWEL. And one of the wonders of Davos is the way that every time you go back, you discover a whole new level of secret and exclusive meetings and dinners and get-togethers which you had no idea even existed: the badge-color layers are only the beginning. Maybe Mohamed should actually go, next year. But only if he gets a hologram.

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