Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Sleepless in Davos

I'm not familiar with the writings of Clyde Prestowitz, but I found at least three things to like about his recent comments at Foreign Policy on the World Economic Forum in Davos ('Clueless in Davos').

First: he uses the word 'glitteratus', and I've rather a soft spot for the underachiving singular forms of words that are almost always used in the plural (e.g. 'graffito').

Second: he makes reference to the 'gnomes of Zurich', a nickname for Swiss bankers that I first encountered as a teenager while playing Illuminati and which has since stuck in my mind, though I have the feeling it's been largely forgotten. What I never knew (and was inspired by this reference to discover) was that the phrase apparently originated via discussions among British Labour politicians in the 1960s.

Third: he has a rather jaundiced view of the Davos lifestyle, one that jibes well with our own personal experience of the town at the beginning of last month.

Yet, despite his anti-charisma, [WEF organiser Klaus] Schwab has managed to persuade a large number of the world's top CEOs, politicians, academics, media stars, and bureaucrats that they have to be in a cramped, second rate hotel in a cold Swiss village with mediocre skiing and food every year during the bridge weekend between January and February. 

Though I imagine that the kind of 'cramped, second rate hotel' being shared by most of these Davos men and women -- however cramped and second rate -- is in a different class than ours was. (Where the ambience was more 'sleepless in Davos' than 'clueless in Davos'.)

Though, as I noted, there are very nice things about the place.

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