s has been previously reported, Davos attendees this week are grappling with a lot of guilt over the possibility that their rah-rah, neoliberal capitalist vision may have had something to do with skyrocketing inequality, the rise of populism, Brexit, and most worryingly, the presidency of Donald J. Trump. When they’re not attending panels for the World Economic Forum’s annual get-together in the Swiss Alps, or enjoying its notorious after-hours party scene, the world’s richest and most powerful people are doing a lot of soul-searching—including, it appears, trying to experience how the other half lives by pretending to be refugees in an elaborate game of role-play:
Most of the events center on talking. But beyond lectures and panel discussions, the agenda also features more esoteric attractions. One notable event is a simulation of a refugee’s experience, where Davos attendees crawl on their hands and knees and pretend to flee from advancing armies.
It is one of the most popular events every year.
This is amazing, and terrible, and if you have footage of it, please send it our way.
Corporate executives, top bankers, global speculators, and power brokers at the annual Alpine retreat in Davos, Switzerland are complaining openly that the rise of populism and nationalism across the United State and Europe is a serious threat to globalism and the New World Order. Ending globalization is apparently hitting them in the pocketbook.
H/t reader squodgy:
“I wonder where they’ll try to hide as populism gathers pace?
As things get worse, the working class will grow as middle class fall through the net, and the bitterness at the expanding wealth gap can only manifest into violence towards those bailed out.
And I don’t think they will be able to rely on the police or armed forces they have methodically offered up for sacrifice for decades, whose families and relatives are also working class.
As I’ve always said, American blinkeredness or “ostrichitis” is their own worst enemy, they just won’t wake up, and the manipulation by corrupt politicians and media will continue till the end, whereas in Europe, the awakening has become more powerful and thus a much greater threat to the establishment.
We are certainly living in interesting times.”
* * *
And she will NOT be reelected.
Last week we were surprised to learn that demand for hotel rooms at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, where the world’s billionaires, CEOs, politicians, celebrities and oligarchs mingle every year (while regaled by their public relations teams known as the “media”, for whom getting an invite to the DJ event du jour is more important than rocking the boat by asking unpleasant questions) was so great, not only are hotel rooms running out, but local employees may be put up in shipping containers in car parks to free up much needed accommodations.
With January just around the corner, the world’s billionaires, CEOs, politicians and oligarchs prepare to take their private planes to Davos, Switzerland for their annual convocation at the World Economic Forum, where they discuss such diverse topics as global warming due to greenhouse gases (which exempts Gulfstream jets) and the dangers of record wealth inequality (which exempts them), while snacking on $39 hot dogs and $50 Caesar salads.
All in a day’s work for a billionaire, surrounded by fawning members of the press who “surprisingly” never ask any probing questions due to concerns they may get uninivted to the DJ party du jour, or worse, lose access to their favorite oligarch, and be forced to do real journalism instead of promotional PR.
With central bankers losing credibility left and right, and failing outright to boost the “wealth effect” no matter what they throw at it, the next big question is when will central planners around the world unveil the cashless society which is a necessary and sufficient condition to a regime of global NIRP.
And while in recent days we have seen op-eds by both Bloomberg and FT urging the banning of cash, the most disturbing development we have seen yet in the push for a cashless society has come from the following slide in a Morgan Stanley presentation, one in which the bank’s head of EMEA equity research Huw van Steenis, pointed out the following…
With a new wave of terrorism, mass shootings and unprecedented social violence around the globe now a part of the daily routine for billions of people across both developed and developing nations, one group wants to be certain there is no chance of “close encounters”, violent or otherwise, with the peasantry during its upcoming annual boondoggle at the World Economic Forum in Davos. According to Swissinfo, when the world’s billionaires land their private jets in the gorgeous Swiss town (which at 1,560 m is also the highest town in Europe) on January 20, they will have up to 5,000 Swiss army troops protecting them.
As a result, the Swiss army has begun on-site preparations for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos.
You can be a billionaire and still don’t have the foggiest idea about healthy food and how to keep the body healthy.
– $43 Hot Dogs; $47 Burgers And $55 Caesar Salads: A Look At The Davos Menu (ZeroHedge, Jan 23, 2015):
Billionaires may live in a world untroubled by such petty concerns as rising costs of living and declining real wages, but like everyone else they have to eat. And pay. The picture below shows what the menu prices, in Swiss Francs, are for various meals offered for sale to the billionaires and other upper class “luminaries” currently congregating in Davos. Some examples converted to USD: Hot Dog: $43; Burger: $47; Caesar salad: $55.
This is what a $55 caesar salad looks like:
– How Do Davos Billionaires Wage War On Inequality? It All Starts With A Bill… (ZeroHedge, Jan 26, 2014)
How does a group of Davos billionaires resolutely crush inequality? Well, it all starts by spending CHF 80,193.00 on assorted fingerfood plates, drinks and of course: Bollinger. And don’t forget – you aren’t really fighting the great war on inequality unless you spend 30 Swiss Francs on water and 460 francs for snacks. Anything less than that and your 0.001% peers may think you are merely an imposter in the great class convergence war…
– Introducing “The Money Oscars” – Jon Stewart on Davos and Financial “Journalists” (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Jan 25, 2014):
Once again, Jon Stewart knocks it out of the park with his unique style of hilarious and cutting social commentary. This time he takes on the orgy of crony capitalists, vacuous celebrities and corrupt politicians that is the World Economic Forum in Davos, or as he calls it, “The Money Oscars.” This is the best Stewart clip I have seen since he recently took it to Chris Christie.
A $170 million fortress surrounded by barbed wire, security cameras, motion sensor and even its own helipad.
Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) — For the rich and powerful descending on Davos this week, only the most luxurious and secure hotels will do. Enter: the just-opened InterContinental. The only hotel in town with its own helipad — there’s no getting in, unless you’re invited. Lucky for Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols, he was. (Source: Bloomberg)
– How Iceland Overthrew The Banks: The Only 3 Minutes Of Any Worth From Davos (ZeroHedge, Jan 26, 2013):
“Why do we consider banks to be like holy churches?” is the rhetorical question that Iceland’s President Olafur Ragnar Grimson asks (and answers) in this truly epic three minutes of truthiness from the farce that is the World Economic Forum in Davos. Amid a week of back-slapping and self-congratulatory party-outdoing, as John Aziz notes, the Icelandic President explains why his nation is growing strongly, why unemployment is negligible, and how they moved from the world’s poster-child for banking crisis 5 years ago to a thriving nation once again. Simply put, he says, “we didn’t follow the prevailing orthodoxies of the last 30 years in the Western world.” There are lessons here for everyone – as Grimson explains the process of creative destruction that remains much needed in Western economies – though we suspect his holographic pass for next year’s Swiss fun will be reneged…
Ok, I totally changed the title. But destroying the middle class and the poor is the plan of the power elite on their one-way road to their fascist New World Order.
– Davos Shocked To Hear That Poor People Exist (ZeroHedge, Jan. 27, 2012):
Ok, I exaggerate. But that’s my cynical first impression after finding the following diagram in the briefing book for the gathering of the good and the great at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (Click for a larger size.)
As you can see “Severe income disparity” is #1 on the Top 5 risks list this year, after having failed to make the short list for the preceding 5 years.
Now it’s not as though the attendees of Davos were completely inattentive to the economic plight of the less fortunate all this time. “Economic disparities” was on last year’s laundry list of risks and was featured prominently in the executive summary of 2011’s report. But the urgency has been ratcheted up quite a bit this year: note the new modifier “severe” and the use of the more specific “income” rather than “economic”. But wait, there’s more.
Compare 2011’s anodyne language:
the benefits of globalization seem unevenly spread – a minority is seen to have harvested a disproportionate amount of the fruits. Although growth of the new champions is rebalancing economic power between countries, there is evidence that economic disparity within countries is growing.
with this year’s:
Dystopia, the opposite of a utopia, describes a place where life is full of hardship and devoid of hope. Analysis of linkages across various global risks reveals a constellation of fiscal, demographic and societal risks signalling a dystopian future for much of humanity. The interplay among these risks could result in a world where a large youth population contends with chronic, high levels of unemployment, while concurrently, the largest population of retirees in history becomes dependent upon already heavily indebted governments. Both young and old could face an income gap, as well as a skills gap so wide as to threaten social and political stability.
They actually used the “D” word. Remember, this is not the research paper of some grad student with a flair for the dramatic. This document was written in part by Swiss Re and Zurich Financial Services — two of the most solid P&C insurers and re-insurers in the world. Their only business is the identification and management of real world risk. When you start hearing the language of Huxley and Orwell on the slopes of the Swiss Alps, then you’d best believe that something fundamental has shifted and that a lot of the rich and powerful are more frightened than they used to be.
For your information.
– Davos: 10 power brokers to watch at the World Economic Forum (Telegraph, Jan. 7, 2012):
In just two weeks’ time, global power brokers will meet in Switzerland in an attempt to pull the eurozone back from the brink of destruction.
Fur and finance, snow and supremacy: there are just two weeks to go before global leaders converge at the World Economic Forum’s annual jamboree in the Alpine resort of Davos.
Off the piste the heady mix of royalty, billionaire tycoons and top politicians are officially tasked with tackling “The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models”.
Rarely has a conference title had more poignant urgency: the European Union leaders’ summit on the advancing debt crisis follows immediately on January 30. Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, Christine Lagarde of the IMF and Mario Draghi, the boss of the European Central Bank (ECB), are among those most likely to spend the week crafting mechanisms to prevent the eurozone sliding off a precipice.
If ever there were REAL terrorists out there, then why have they never attacked an event run by elitists?
“The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaeda. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive the TV watcher to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the US.”
– Robin Cook, Former British Foreign Secretary
It is because there are no REAL terrorists out there.
We the people are all terrorists now.
A policeman pulled me off the train, bound my hands behind my back and frogmarched me into an icy field by the rail track
Photograph of Swiss Police boarding a train leaving Davos after the World Economic Forum (WEF). Photograph Andrew Clark for the Guardian
My day began listening to George Osborne debate the fragility of the global economy. It ended sitting on the floor of a freezing underground car park, hands bound behind my back, in the custody of Swiss riot police.
A peculiar ordeal in ostensibly the world’s most peaceful nation began when, leaving Davos after four days covering the World Economic Forumsummit, my taxi to the Swiss resort’s railway station got clogged in traffic caused by an anti-capitalist demonstration. I hopped out and walked past a line of police to reach a platform where an uneasy mixture of demonstrators, skiers in full gear and WEF delegates were milling around. There were a few yells and chants – and the tinkling of glass being broken somewhere nearby.
A train to Zurich arrived and as I boarded, my carriage filled with protesters handing out beers and leaflets. They were a friendly enough bunch, mostly in their late teens and twenties, and the journey began uneventfully, albeit to a soundtrack of loud europop. After 30 minutes or so, a convoy of police vans screamed down the mountain, sirens blaring, on a road alongside the railway, and overtook the train. It stopped and was surrounded by riot police wearing full body armour, carrying shields and bearing what appeared to be guns capable of firing rubber bullets. Minutes later, a woman burst into our carriage eyes streaming and squealing in pain after being pepper sprayed for sticking her head out the window to gesture at police.
It dawned on me that this was serious – and that it could also be newsworthy. When the police, dressed in almost comically sinister in Robocop-style gear, came into my carriage, I took a few photos of them with my BlackBerry and attempted a video (which didn’t come out). The cops went through with dogs, picking anyone who looked vaguely like a protester and ordering them off the train. Skiers and those not wearing anarchist fashion were left – but selection was fairly arbitrary. A Greenpeace activist, Bruno Heinzer, who had been in Davos for a WEF fringe event, was bemused to find that his younger colleague and girlfriend were taken off, while he was left alone. I was initially ignored until a policeman twigged my BlackBerry and, deaf to my protestations, he pulled me off the train, suitcase, laptop bag and all. With about 50 others, I had my hands bound behind my back by plastic ties. We were searched and the contents of our pockets were put in plastic bags around our necks. We were frogmarched into a snowy field alongside the railway line, and ordered to wait,surrounded by armed police.
When I explained that I was a journalist, I was unconvincingly told in broken English that I looked like a “picture on a wall” of a rioter in Davos, which I took to mean I looked like some sort of photofit picture. I asked my arresting officer if he really believed I’d been rioting in a Banana Republic overcoat, dragging a wheely bag and a laptop. He affected incomprehension. It got dark and very cold as we shivered in the snow. Eventually, the police herded us into vans and drove us to a police station in a town called Landquart. Incongruously, the Monkees’ I’m a Believer blasted out from the van’s radio. We were marched down a ramp into an underground car park beneath the police station where we were ordered to sit, around the walls, still handcuffed, and forbidden from talking. Six police officers stood guard and forbade conversation – one young woman was made to sit in a distant corner, facing the wall, primary school-style, for talking. Every so often, the motion-sensitive lights went off, plunging us into pitch darkness.
One by one, we were taken upstairs to the police station, at a rate of perhaps one every 15 minutes. After an hour or so, a policeman finally listened to my appeals and, examining my passport and press card, took me upstairs. I was photographed, mugshot-style, holding a number. Then an English-speaking senior officer ordered me to delete any pictures taken on the train, and to rip out any pages from my notebook relating to the incident. I declined, asking him whether it was truly illegal in Switzerland to take pictures of the police. He replied that policing the World Economic Forum was a “special zone” and that “special rules” applied. “You have one minute. You can do this and go or, if you don’t, you stay here,” he said. Again demurring, I asked to make a phone call – which prompted the assembled police to go into a huddle. Instead, the senior officer reached for his phone himself and made a long, animated call in German. More discussion ensued when he had hung up. Then he strolled over and he snapped: “You can go back to your country.”