What is the World Economic Forum aka Davos
The time has come for the all of the powerful titans of industry to come together once again to talk about the problems that face the world on an economic and political level. You will see at Davos... Fortune 500 CEOs, politicians from all over the globe, and even celebrities.
You ask how did this summit come into existence? What is the World Economic Forum and what do they do?
In 1971, a 32 years old German academic hosted a conference for his peers to discuss issues that were at the forefront of the day. He chose the newly opened congress center in the Swiss resort of Davos. Klaus Schwab wanted to use the symposium to make the stiff European business leaders think more about stakeholders beyond those who own their shares, and to expose them to American management methods. The small fees paid by the 450 who came generated a profit of $75,000 in today’s money, which Mr Schwab used to endow the European Management Forum.
In 1987, they renamed the conference the World Economic Forum, its signature annual event has become the ultimate event for plutocrats. Every year it attracts nearly 3,000 business folk, politicians, serious celebrities and journalists hoping to hear some of the brightest people in the world speak on their respective fields. Visitors, some unable to get passes to the main venue, crowd panels and parties in hotels or on the “fringe”. It is becoming sort of like a businessperson’s yearly Woodstock.
Mr Schwab, now 81, likes to say the WEF is “committed to improving the state of the world”. Obviously, a lot of people see it differently. To many the WEF its commitment is to globalist elites, peddling an agenda that exacerbates inequality.
More surprising, critics can be found on Mr Schwab’s side of the barriers. “He vacillates between genuinely wanting to bring global peace and prosperity, and simply wanting to be close to money and power,” says a Davos regular. The same can be said of his creation. But they noted that world-changing ambition can lose out to a fear of upsetting the corporate and political leaders whose presence makes Davos a hit. The WEF’s evolution from conference of policymakers to shaper of policy is raising eyebrows.
The WEF has plenty to commend it. Mr Schwab’s genius, says an ex-colleague, is to have developed it into “a sort of un for public-private discourse and co-operation, an alternative forum in a world of broken global governance”. Mr Schwab points to GAVI, a global vaccination alliance launched at Davos 20 years ago, as an example of a successful public-private partnership to which the WEF “played midwife”. I think as long as there is a Davos important people will flock there as it is a place to see and be seen.