Wednesday, January 18, 2023

A Post-Davos World? Sign me up.

The whole World Economic Forum/Davos experience is one part Bond villain parody, one part clout seeking billionaires, one part megalomania, a heaping cup of greed, and a dash of rent seeking. 

In 2023 things have reached the point where any association with Davos should put an individual or organization under notice of suspicion. Amazing to see people who claim to be American conservatives or lovers of liberty attending in an non-ironic, non-protesting capacity.

This wannabee gaggle of quasi-oligarchs and autocrat throne sniffers represents everything that is wrong with the human desire for control, power, and to crush the individual for fun and profit.

They pretend to be the world government in waiting that no one asked for, no one wants, and trust me on this - no one wants to live under. Being unaccountable to the people is their ideal state.

If you don't know what I am referring to above, shame on you. Google it yourself, but I couldn't help but giggle when I read the title from this article by Gideon Rachman at The Financial TimesGeopolitics threatens to destroy the world Davos made.

Really? It is? Then by all means let's have MOAR!

...the 2023 WEF — the first to take place in its regular winter location since the pandemic began — could be seen as signalling a return to normalcy. However, China’s sudden abandonment of its zero-Covid policy has raised fears that a new wave of variants could emerge.

And, even if a fresh pandemic phase is avoided, Covid has left its mark on the way governments and businesses think about globalisation. The assumption that goods and commodities can always be shipped easily around the world has been shattered.

Except for the mentally fragile few and those who leverage power through them, the world is over COVID like it is over the flu. The last three years has been a clarifying event bringing in to stark relief those autocracy worshipers and hypocrites who hold individual rights in contempt. It also helped us see the existential danger a free people can face when they put themselves at the mercy of governments who see a crisis opening a door for an easy grasp at additional powers they will never want to give back.

The past the Davos set desired failed the future that is our present, but that doesn't give pause to any of them. The Davos view of the future where everyone (except for those at the top) lives in a pod, eats bugs, owns nothing but is "happy" is at best dystopian, at worst justifies at some point if they are not stopped, open global revolt against the ruling class with all the violence and blood that comes with it.

As an American, I have no problem saying that. America is a revolutionary nation that twice in its history drenched its soil with blood to ensure the rights of the individual over government and an unaccountable ruling class lording over those they considered lesser humans.

We are not at that point in most nations ... but when you see it happen like we saw in Sri Lanka ... understand where it is coming from.
Often prompted by governments, businesses are having to change their ways. It is not wise to rely on complex supply chains vulnerable to disease, war or other emergencies. Companies such as Apple — which boasted of products “designed in California, assembled in China” — are having to diversify production. Apple increasingly also produces in India and Vietnam.

Notice to complete focus on mercantilist concerns here? No mention or recognition, intentionally, of the maligned influence and moral repugnance of the People's Republic of China?  

Efforts by some western companies to lessen their dependence on China were prompted by the pandemic, but they have since accelerated because of a heightened awareness of geopolitical risk — otherwise known as war.

These are not dumb people. If it took them until the last couple of years to be concerned about war with the PRC ... are they fools or were they just trying to drain as much money out of offshoring to the PRC using slave labor until it was no longer easy to do? I vote the later. Either way, they are not using their intelligence for good. 

So, yes - bring us to a post-Davos world ... and let anyone who attended WEF before 2019 be giggled at ... and anyone who attends after 2023 - we'll give well meaning people a year to catch up because we're nice like that - on be an anathema to a free people.

Nuclear war is the most frightening potential development — and one that has concerned the White House since the outbreak of fighting last February. Even if the use of nuclear weapons is avoided, the danger of widening conflict remains as Nato sends advanced weaponry to Ukraine and Iran supplies Russia with military drones

The chance of nuclear war is less now than it was for the first 30 years of my life. The pearl clutching and paper bag huffing about this just encourages the use of nuclear blackmail. I'm sorry - but if you are "frightened" right now, then find another line of work besides national security. This profession requires rational thought, not emotional posturing.

Additionally, if we could keep the externalized masochism to a minimum it would be appreciated. The conflict is not expanding because we are helping a nation to defend itself from an imperial war of aggression. When the first Russian tanks crossed the Ukrainian border (again) that is your widened conflict. All else is the inalienable right to self defense.
Politicians and industrialists are scanning the horizon for the next big geopolitical threat. Many have focused on Taiwan, which produces 90 per cent of the world’s most advanced semiconductors. A Chinese invasion of Taiwan might shut down TSMC, the most important semiconductor producer, with devastating results for the world economy.

Even geopolitical tensions that stop well short of war have disrupted international commerce. The increasingly wary US attitude to China has led the Biden administration to sharply restrict exports of sensitive technology there. This affects not just US companies, but also foreign technology giants, such as South Korea’s Samsung, that use US tech.
Again...the Davos mindset. 180 degree lockoff. Taiwan and its semiconductors are not the threat, the PRC is. Note that it isn't the maligned presence of the PRC that is the problem, it is the US response to it.

Of course, in line with the mindset above, it isn't the WEF that is the problem, but ..
Political leaders, particularly in the west, must worry, too, about domestic pressure from populists. Many of the latter have made the WEF a symbol of inequality and rootless international capitalism.
Can anyone tell me where WEF is a supporter of equality and working towards domestic national resilience vice quarterly balance sheets, sketchy bank accounts on small Caribbean islands, or unaccountable power grabs?
In recent years, Davos has attracted the ire of anti-vaxxers, climate change sceptics, religious zealots and hardline nationalists. The forum features in a range of conspiracy theories. On the wilder internet fringes, the WEF has been accused of using the pandemic to seize control of the world economy.
Oh, nice ... no legitimate concerns, just swivel eyed loons. Don't dare oppose anything going on at Davos, your betters may just call you a name or throw you in the bin with the icky people.
Such theories aside, the idea that Davos is faintly toxic has gained ground. President Joe Biden, determined to present himself as fighting for ordinary working Americans, is unlikely to risk an appearance at Davos — unlike Donald Trump, who enjoyed rubbing shoulders with the assembled CEOs.

Even centrist and conservative leaders in Europe may be cautious about coming.

Good. They should be. Also, will someone put the American (R) there on notice that we see them?

President Emmanuel Macron of France, a defender of globalisation who has spoken at Davos in the past, has a sensitive domestic pension reform to push through, so may decide that now is not the right time to attend the WEF. As a new British prime minister, and one with a finance background, Rishi Sunak would normally be expected to seize the opportunity to woo the world’s most powerful chief executives. But the UK faces a wave of strikes, so he too will probably decide that it would be wise to miss Davos this year.

Simply unacceptable in democratic nations that the will of the people might promote change in political leadership. Next thing you know, they might want even more free speech and redress of grievances. 
Those world leaders who are present might do well to take the funicular up to the Schatzalp Hotel, which served as Mann’s model for the sanatorium in The Magic Mountain. The hotel’s view is the best in Davos — it may offer a chance for quiet reflection on how to prevent war and natural disaster from once again engulfing the global economy

Perhaps they should reflect on how they encouraged Russian aggression and European vulnerability to hydrocarbon blackmail? Should they take a moment to see how they look the other way as the PRC engages in wholesale oppression of their Muslim minority? Are they proud of their dividends derived from almost unimaginable levels of air and water pollution flowing out of PRC's slave labor run factories? 

Unlikely - they might miss out on the next party.

A post-Davos world? 

How do we bring it here faster? 

h/t Alessio.

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