It reeks of self-importance, but I need to overcome my cynicism about Davos because this year it really matters

I made my own tiny, pointless gesture by not going when I had the opportunity. But with globalisation in retreat and nationalism advancing, there is now more to be said for a global gathering of the great and good

Vince Cable

Those who go to the World Economic Forum at Davos can expect to have their cards marked as being globalists at a time when globalism has become a term of abuse.
The abuse comes from two directions. The far left has always railed against international capitalism in general and, in particular, against this gathering of big business leaders, billionaires and the politicians who often serve them. Now, the legions of Trump and the nativists of Europe will add their own quota of contempt. Trump will actually be there, but making it clear that he is there in person but not in spirit.

Although I have no brief for the hard left or the populist right, I have always felt negative about Davos ­– at least in its present form as a giant celeb-fest, rather than the more modest and reflective format envisaged at its inception 50 years ago. It reeks of smug self-importance: a platform for the preening, economic glitterati, indulging in the equivalent of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Overpaid chief executives massage each other’s egos away from carping politicians and journalists back home. And those politicians who do turn up get a break from serious politics.

I made my own tiny, rather pointless, gesture by not going when I had the opportunity. My networks were smaller as a result, but have lasted better.

Now, though, I feel my cynicism may have been overdone.     more …


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