Do you think Davos will make a difference?

16 February 2019

Davos, the Swiss ski resort, has just hosted the 48 th World Economic Forum. It is, so the strapline says, ‘Committed to Improving the State of the World’. In the eyes of its critics it is,‘a family reunion for the people who broke the world’.

To get your entry badge you first have to be a member of the Economic Forum which seems to be a very exclusive club. Membership costs anything between $60,000 and $600,000 plus a fee of $27,000 per person to get to the conference itself. The audience, including 80 billionaires, hedge fund managers, business leaders, economists, executives and investors listened politely to Sir David Attenborough and gave muted applause.

It seems that after years of warnings and hard evidence last year’s wild fires, flooding and hurricanes have finally convinced the forum that climate change is a reality but no-one seems able or willing to think differently. Sorry, Greta.

A survey of 1,344 of the executives attending run by Pricewaterhouse Cooper concluded that the top concerns of the membership were: corporate ‘over regulation’; excessive social spending, and government debt. Wise words from Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund Director, regarding rising economic inequality threatening stability and sustainability didn’t appear to dampen the party atmosphere as the 3,000 bottles of wine were consumed.

I’m not convinced that Davos will make a difference, are you?