Today Michael Shellenberger, of Twitter Files fame, shared a provocative thesis. He says the World Economic Forum (WEF), often called Davos after the Swiss ski resort town in which it meets every year, is fading fast. Or to be more specific, the legacy media are writing its obituary, according to Shellenberger. He gives three specific examples – and other examples abound. Those examples show that the “Demons of Davos” sound far less confident today than they have in years past. Their rhetoric starts to take on the stridor of a political campaign – while fewer of the very people they need as allies are willing to pay them the attention they once did.
History of Davos
Klaus Schwab founded the World Economic Forum fifty-two years ago, on January 24, 1971. It began as the European Management Forum, to teach American-style management practices to Europeans. Political leaders started attending in 1974 – after the Bretton Woods collapse and the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East.
That last might have played into Schwab’s hands. During that conflict, the Israel Defense Forces, counter-invading across the Suez Canal, surrounded an entire Egyptian division. They were on the point of annihilating their enemies when the Soviet Union threatened a nuclear strike. That threat prompted someone – maybe President Richard M. Nixon, maybe the then Commander in Chief of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Cinc-NORAD) – to declare Defense Condition (DefCon) Three – a state of increased readiness to engage in nuclear retaliation. (Five DefCons exist, from Five, or peace, to One, or all-out war. The highest DefCon at which American nuclear forces have ever stood is Two – during the Cuban Missile Crisis.)
Imagine, if you will, Schwab saying in broken English, “Theh-ah! You see?” (Schwab notoriously leaves out all his Rs when he tries to speak English.) If so, he was remarkably patient. For ten years, the annual Davos meeting was like a vacation. But, beginning in 1988, Davos started to become a forum and venue for serious business.
Just what is their business today?
That business began almost as a rival forum to the United Nations. It has now become the center of what one might call “elite woke-ism.” Politicians would come to Davos to give assurances that they would hew to a “liberal” economic policy. Here liberal means generous, usually with other people’s money, not respectful of freedom. Exceptions did exist – for instance, Donald Trump came to Davos to yank their figurative beards, not to pledge cooperation. But most politicians who come to Davos, come to report progress in the destruction of national sovereignty and the establishment of a one-world governmental order.
Elon Musk flatly accused the WEF of precisely that earlier this week.
That accusation is next to impossible to refute today. “Climate Czar” John Kerry, a Davos regular, hailed his fellow attendees as taking on an “almost extraterrestrial” mission. “Journalists” like Brian Stelter (formerly of CNN) and Arthur G. Sulzberger (The New York Times) joined a panel on “disinformation.” They openly called on both legacy and social media to become, not merely State actors, but Global actors. One panelist boasted that the United States “will have soon” the kinds of laws that prevail in Europe, making it unlawful to express illiberal opinion. (Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, has already introduced a bill to criminalize speech she does not like, by white people.)
And on Wednesday, Al Gore roared that a billion people would flee catastrophic coastal flooding he attributes to climate change.
Davos in decay?
But today Mr. Shellenberger suggested that Davos might be dying.
He named three specific symptoms from this year’s meeting, all of which portend a loss of influence. First, Klaus Schwab has never once planned for anyone to succeed him. Politico covered the problem on Tuesday. Schwab will turn 85 this year. Sources close to him say he thinks of himself as a god (like George Soros!).
[He] has a god complex, and thinks he’s in the fittest 0.1 percent. But no oneis immortal. It’s insane that they don’t have a succession plan.
Another highly placed source said something darker:
Everyone’s talking about it, and the whole thing could fall apart if they don’t sort it out.
Meaning: Davos is a one-man show, and that man is Klaus Schwab. And those in the know, fear “he will die in office.” A one-man show without its one man, could collapse.
According to the rules Schwab sets up, the founder chooses his successor. And he hasn’t said a word.
The comfort detachment
Second, for the first time, the legacy media are paying attention to something they cagily avoided talking about: prostitution. According to The New York Post, those arrogant CEOs, media figures, heads-of-state, and ministers (we call them Secretaries) need their comforts. And many, many women willingly provide them – at prices that reach $2500 a night.
And what an arrogant bunch these are! Chris Kenny of Sky News Australia calls Davos “the epitome of virtue-signaling.” Paul Murray, also of Sky News Australia, says Davos regulars “think they rule the world.” Murray is not even talking about the history of Davos, or the speculation that has grown around it. He simply observes the attitudes of the attendees – and also observes that they have “no tether to reality.”
These are the people to which a good portion of the female population of Europe are saying:
We have willing dames enough. There cannot be that vulture in you to devour so many as would to greatness dedicate themselves, finding it so inclin’d. MacBeth IV.iii.74-77
Two problems with this. First, why are the legacy media talking about it? In years past, they uttered not a peep about it. (Or maybe The New York Post is not exactly a legacy medium.) Second, why are we not hearing about the other kind of hanger-on that has attended Davos in years past? The reason: they’re not coming this year.
What? No A-list celebrities?
Which brings us to the third problem Davos is having with its image. Not nearly as many “A-list” people have come to the party this year.
Four years ago, New Zealand’s ultra-left Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hectored the Davos denizens about climate change. This year – not only is she not at Davos, but she has abruptly resigned. She, a graduate of the WEF’s Young Global Leaders program, now admits she doesn’t “have what it takes to continue.”
So that’s one A-lister who isn’t even an A-lister anymore. But what about those who still are? Why aren’t they attending? President Biden didn’t attend – well, maybe he has problems of his own, something about classified documents turning up years later. But the Prime Minister of Britain isn’t attending either, and neither is the President of France. Ed Conway, of Sky News UK, suggested they didn’t attend because they all have cost-of-living crises back home. But isn’t that the path of the Great Reset? And wouldn’t you expect to come to Davos to learn how to gain and retain the confidence of their people during an admittedly difficult transition?
Not anymore! At Davos, they don’t even talk about any Great Reset. No doubt they’re huddling and desperately discussing how to change its name, and to what. But of course they are not talking about it- because it’s failing.
What’s to talk about at Davos?
But that’s not all. Davos likes to think it has lots to talk about, but one thing they won’t talk about. That is: “globalization” is failing. The reason for that failure likely comes down to power lust by some, and a wish by others for autonomy. China wants to be the Middle Kingdom to Rule the World. Yet at the same time, China, having grasped the world’s supply chains, did the one thing one who corners the market must never do. They let everyone down. Your editor knows of key shipments that harried managers said were “stuck on a ship off the coast of California.” But those things might not have gotten on a ship at all. Result: the supply chain is broken, and instead of repairing it, people will “in-source” their supplies.
No globalist wants to hear about that. Loss of the global supply chains will translate to loss of control. Who will want to pay the globalists one scintilla of attention?
Failure to communcate
That brings up another thing Mr. Conway noticed. Klaus Schwab invented the concept of a “stakeholder economy” or “stakeholder capitalism.” Under that, a CEO expands his fiduciary duty beyond the shareholders and bondholders, to customers, employees, and “the community.” But lines of communication are fraying. “Face time” no longer exists as it once did – thanks to a certain virus. The very virus that was supposed to usher in the Great Reset, cut off “face time” among those still afraid of it – and those who do not fear the virus, do not fear Davos, either.
What we’ve got here, is failure to communicate! Actor Strother Martin in Cool Hand Luke
People are still communicating, all right – to one another. They’re hanging up on Davos. So all the angry speeches, Al Gore’s rants, and Brian Stelter’s glib description of “disinformation,” are like the flash of a light bulb before it burns out.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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