Sunday, January 29, 2012

Putting a Bow on Davos' Schmoozing & Parties

The World Economic Forum, an annual meeting of global tamperers, wrapped up in Davos, Switzerland.  The "future of capitalism" theme served as cover for Davos' hegemonic ends.  BBC reported:

Participants ... got down to what the event really is about: soaking up new ideas, pitching deals and - most importantly - using the opportunity to network.
The police state protected the event:

There were several small protests outside the heavily protected venue, surrounded by hundreds of Swiss police officers, security guards and soldiers.

It's good the police were there to save Davos participants. 

Davos certainly discussed many of the most urgent issues of the world. 

Otherwise who will save the world, or preserve it to their end?  Scheming is brain work.  It requires counter balance, thus Davos' infamous parties.  CondeNast's Daily Traveler wrote:

So Far, My Favorite Moments at the World Economic Forum Have Been at the Parties

The setting is majestic: the quaint Swiss town is surrounded by snowy mountains and pine trees blanketed in white. But no one seems to pay much notice to any of that. It’s all about the people
BusinessInsider reported:

Given the quality of speakers at the World Economic Forum, you may be under the impression that people go for the content. They don't. The content is a interesting diversion, for those with spare time, but the real reason companies happily shell out up to $600,000+ per year to attend the Davos conference is because of the schmoozing.

Schmoozers include David Rubenstein, Tim Geithner, Chelsea Clinton, Jamie Dimon, Bill Gates, Niall Ferguson, Nouriel Roubini, Mario Draghi, Christine Lagarde, David Cameron, Angelo Merkel, Vikram Pandit, Mick Jagger, Dr. Oz, and George Soros.

American branded global mega-corps were in full force, schmoozing and sponsoring schmoozing events:

Chelsea Clinton hosted the Clinton Global Initiative reception at the PwC "Thought Cafe."  PwC has Price Waterhouse Coopers in its background.  Deloitte promoted its new Business Society.  KPMG "Cut Through Complexity" with a snow free stairwell and Davos update page.

Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein predicted capitalism would go state sponsored, like China.  Did he plug Moncler ski jackets, available at Ettinger Sports in Davos?

As for braving the cold without proper attire, three Ukrainian topless women were able to get near the heavily guarded grounds.  They chanted, "Poor because of you."

Might David Rubenstein offer them a Moncler cashmere turtleneck?   Should he feel less charitable, Rubenstein could ask authorities to roll them into a Brintons' carpet.  That remark is in poor taste, given Brintons' retirees lost their pension because of Mr. Rubenstein.
Davos' police apparatus quickly silenced the topless threat.  Is this evidence of KPMG's "cutting through complexity", Deloitte's new "business society"?  It echoes the China model of economic freedom, pushed on Palestinians the last few years. 

Next up for global tamperers?  It's a pair of CGI's, the Clinton Global Initiative and Carlyle Group investors meeting, which run back to back in the fall.   Clinton Global Initiative is a favorite of CEO's, the group getting value at Davos.  In between is the annual Bilderberg Group meeting.  Times couldn't be better for global tamperers.  Not so much for Brintons' retirees or Ukrainian feminists.

The global race to the lowest common denominator on worker pay/benefits, taxes and corporate regulation continues.  Exempt from the downward spiral are political donations and CEO pay.  Personal freedom, like Carlyle's shareholder rights, must be limited.  This is Davos' legacy in the new millenium.

Update:  ZeroHedge has a Davos post mortem

Update 1-31-12:  MarketWatch offered a scathing summation