Sunday, January 22, 2017

How Davos Lost Its Mojo

I'll tell you what the problem is, the problem is Bono didn't show up this year, that's the problem.
Note: This photo was lifted from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Feb. 6, 2005.
From The Week:
The global elite descended this week on the Swiss Alps for the annual World Economic Forum at Davos, said Andrew Ross Sorkin at The New York Times. But this year, the cognoscenti who came to sip pricey cocktails and snack on caviar over high-minded discussions about the world's biggest challenges did so against an uncomfortable backdrop: rising nationalism and economic populism that they "largely failed to anticipate — and may have even unconsciously generated." Just as in years past, this year's forum — whose attendees included Microsoft founder Bill Gates, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and Chinese President Xi Jinping — focused on the belief that "globalization has the potential to benefit everyone." But it was hard to ignore the fact that the events of 2016, from Brexit to the election of Donald Trump, amounted to a stunning "rebuke" of everything Davos regulars stand for.

After years of bearing the brunt of globalization's job losses and growing inequality, "millions of people who never get near this Swiss mountain retreat have finally said 'enough is enough,'" said Richard Quest at CNN. And can you blame them? There were more than 400 sessions this week covering everything from the future of America to global cybersecurity, but there was one panel conspicuously missing: "an admission that 'we are out of touch' and 'we didn't see this coming.'" If Davos attendees can't focus on policies that 99 percent of the world actually cares about, especially after getting the electoral equivalent of the middle finger, they should call it a day.

Those cheering the end of a world managed by Davos attendees "should be careful what they wish for," said Martin Wolf at the Financial Times. Yes, the Davos elite overreached in their zeal to erase borders, and "they ignored, above all, the obligation to share the gains of globalization with its losers." Those mistakes, however, pale in comparison with what could happen if the populists get their way. "Davos people are in business." They don't wield armies, "but rather seek to engage in mutually enriching commercial transactions, and believe in the desirability of a peaceful and essentially cooperative world." By contrast, President Trump threatens to impose punitive tariffs on important partners like China and Mexico that would trigger a global trade war. The result would be a breakdown of the global system of trade and trust that has helped maintain peace since World War II. "The simpleminded populism now on the rise will soon prove far worse than the hubris of the Davos elite."...MORE
Bono was such a feature over the last twelve years that Getty has hundreds of images for sale.
But there won't be any from 2017.

To compensate, a few of our favorite Bono stories:
Bono's Elevation Partners Runs $90 Mil to $1.5 Bil in Facebook, Making Him the World's Most Insufferable Musician (FB)

Mugabe launches Robert Mugabe intelligence academy; Chicago Economists to Aid Inflation-Weary Zimbabwe
..."We were hoping for Bono," says Nkende Masvingo, referring to the rock singer who has made sub-Saharan poverty his personal crusade, "but they sent us Gary Becker because U2 was on tour."

Becker, the winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Economics, will lead a "dream team" including Steven Levitt, co-author of the best-selling pop economics book "Freakonomics", that will set up camp in this city, the nation's capital. "First, we need to understand the situation," said Becker ...
Bono Sings to Warren Buffett

Africans to Bono: 'For God's sake please stop!'