If the World Economic Forum is ever mentioned, the first thought you’d probably have is of a collection of global heavyweights “committed to improving the state of the world”. Of course, like with any other conference or organization, the extent of such slogans is a careful media construct while simultaneously subject to their scrutiny.
At a Wall Street Journal conference in 2009, then White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel stated that one should never let a crisis go to waste. In this sense, the 2008 financial crisis is just like any other crisis: a disaster and an opportunity. A disaster because it led to the destruction of $4 trillion worth of global assets, millions of people losing their livelihood, and bringing the whole economic system incredibly close to a cataclysmic meltdown.
A systems-level approach was taken to identify ecological risks and resilience at the Earth’s Tipping Points session. And again, resilience, especially for and about people, was the key theme for the Designing Smart Cities session.
Panelists at the Scaling Social Innovation session focused on the importance of effective financing models and cross-sectoral partnerships for scaling up.
The Global Energy Context session discussed the dramatic macroeconomic effects of the rise of shale gas in the US, as well as how “markets are quietly achieving both growth and environmental improvements.”
Panelists from China’s Growth Context positively noted that “for the first time, consumption is leading the economic recovery [instead of investment-driven growth]” with no mentions of environmental consequences.
At every gathering of the World Economic Forum, the term “Davos Man” comes alive across the mediasphere and leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many. Perhaps now would be a good time as any to define it. Coined by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, the term Davos Man was meant to refer to members of the global elite who view themselves as completely international.
Today, one day before the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting commences here in the secluded Swiss mountain town of Davos, 29 selected social entrepreneurs are already meeting to imagine what the social enterprise sector will look like in 2030 before mingling during the rest of the week with over 2,500 other participants. (more…)
Keeping true to Swiss clichés, the World Economic Forum (WEF) press meeting in Geneva last Wednesday started just as the clocks struck eleven o’clock. The rows around me were already remarkably filled with members of international media even though there were still some days to go until the Annual Meeting.
The world’s political and economic elite are gearing up to make the pilgrimage to the World Economic Forum next week. From warnings and criticisms to tongue-in-cheek guides to crashing parties, the sleepy ski resort of Davos is back for its annual outing in the news. For many, it’s just another “important” event, full of people “chasing successful people who want to be seen chasing other successful people”. So why bother – literally and metaphorically – to make the long trek up?
“Goodbye sustainability, hello resilience,” recently wrote Andrew Zolli, co-author with Ann Marie Healy of Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back. Resilience, as defined in their book, is “the capacity of a system, enterprise, or a person to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances” – an ideal attribute of any system especially in the face of unexpected events, such as the recent natural disasters, or more subtle disturbances that have systemic consequences. (more…)