When antiglobalization movements started to attack the millionaires’ winter holydays in Davos, the managers of World Economic Forum launched a powerful propaganda and PR campaign(Is there any difference?) to show the supposedly gently face of capitalist bosses. It was difficult to believe, but the fact is the WEF quits his conspiration tank brand and adopted the form of a sort of celebrities event where rich and famous demonstrate a deep concern over the hot issues of the world. I remember Sharon Stone asking for instant pocket money to the executives because she wanted to end the African hunger in two minutes, or something bizarre like that. If in the first era they did not have credibility because it was an encounter to slice the world and make more money, in the second era the forum disguised in a Hollywood show: so many celebrities, hundreds of empty words and high-tech public relations.
This year Davos has suffer from the same problem fairs and exhibits have in the middle of a crisis: lack of interest. In the Forum case, people are not able to easily smile and citizens are not very happy witnessing the Vips Parade. It seems that as journalists and other followers of the event were so distrustful with the final results of the meeting and nobody has paid the huge attention it has in other times. Certaintly, the public relations machinery of de WEF has turned to use a lot of web tools, like webcasting and podcasting, and fans of Mr Schwab, Bono or Michael Dell can follow the activities without the media. But a think tank meeting is not a Madonna concert, even as Madonna could go. They need the collaboration of media moguls and media stars. You know we have celebrities for every need.
I do not think that the Davos meeting has given any clear key in economics or public policy in the last ten years. But in other editions, correspondents were fascinated by the powerful people the meeting could congregate. The less important thing was the value of ideas. We were living in the economic paradise and Davos was like the Winter Festival for the enjoyment of fat (now slim) capitalists . The rest of us contemplated the spectacle and dreamed on the possibility of being invited as a young leader or a flamboyant millionaire.
Sadly, the Fiesta is finished. Now we discover the real dimension of the Davos Meeting: nothing at all. At least for me when I examine, for example, the main conclusion of the Congress and do not find something really outstanding:
“We have to address all the issues simultaneously and not forget any of them, like climate change. We have to involve all the stakeholders of global society in this process so that they feel responsible. Above all we need to restore confidence in our systems.”
Brilliant for a meeting named Shaping the Post-Crisis World. A popular proverb in my country says that ‘Para ese viaje no hace falta alforjas’. Instead of giving common-sense receipts, it is better to be quiet, specially if you claim to represent the wise and powerful men. Antiglobalisation movement, please, stand up! We urgently need fresh ideas.