Does the fact that George Soros is skipping the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this year a signal that the annual confab is less of must-do for the global elite, i.e. the richest and most powerful people on earth? This year’s theme, “Cooperation in a Fragmented World” is certainly more modest and less controversial than 2020’s “Great Reset.”
Davos Man is on a diet.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella didn’t have to look into a crystal ball to predict that the tech industry will have to do more with less, while his company announced plans to lay off 10,000 employees this year. Amazon is letting 18,000 workers go and SalesForce 8,000 in keeping with the trend that has Silicon Valley downbeat.
The Patagonia vest recession is real.
In another sign of the times, even the Saudis are cutting back. Speaking at the forum Wednesday, Minister of Finance Mohammed al Jadaan said the Kingdom “used to give direct grants and deposits without strings attached and we are changing that,” Reuters reported. Instead, they’ll run more of their aid through the criteria of multi-lateral organizations, which is how the very rich downshift.
But it’s not just the world economy that is tightening – Davos itself is facing its own disruptions from within. The 82-year old WEF Founder Klaus Schwab is now facing calls from his own employees to step down, and one complained to the Guardian that he is “accountable to no one and a force unto himself.”
It was Schwab who first conceived of “stakeholder capitalism,” a theory that capital is accountable not only to owners and shareholders, but also to all stakeholders — which could be understood as the community at large. Some compare this to socialism and communism, but as with the Great Reset itself, other concerns center on oligarchic interests using COVID and climate change as pretexts for re-ordering society at large based on a design they deem appropriate.
Which is why it’s good news that one person who won’t be skipping Davos this year is Greta Thunberg, who will be making her now regular appearance fresh on her heels after having been “arrested” and briefly detained by German authorities on Tuesday for protesting unlawfully at a coal mine there. UN General Secretary must have anticipated her arrival when on Wednesday he blasted countries for putting words over actions when it comes to the green agenda.
Even the famously conspiratorial Oliver Stone appeared to be on message as he premiered his film there boosting nuclear power. Aging European and American protestors from the late 1970s must be confused at how things seem to have come full circle.
It took everybody’s favorite common man John Kerry to bring things down to earth. On Tuesday, he spoke plainly to the one percent audience assembled at the luxury Swiss ski resort. It will take one thing to remedy climate change, President Joe Biden’s special envoy said: “Money, money, money, money, money.”
Obviously he came to the right place, but maybe at the wrong time.