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Economy

Davos Man Is at It Again: The 2022 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum

by Michael Rectenwald | Mises.org
June 1st 2022, 1:31 pm
Today, we have "Davos man," who is ready to plan your life for you—your wishes notwithstanding
Image Credit:
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos is perhaps the world’s most unpopular conference, and the WEF’s founder and chairman, Klaus Schwab, one of the world’s most despised figures.

Often compared to “Dr. Evil,” the character Mike Meyers played in the Austin Powers series, and routinely likened to a James Bond supervillain on the internet, Schwab is seen as a messianic megalomaniac leading a nefarious cabal of world leaders and corporate heads into a future dominated by a globalist elite.

A Twitter poll by TruthBoost asks, “Does the World Economic Forum make the world a better place?” As of this writing, 98.4 percent of respondents said no.

What is it about this confab and its leaders that makes the WEF and its meetings so despised? After all, the WEF is “committed to improving the state of the world,” or so says its slogan. As it turns out, most people don’t like having a group of unelected, self-appointed dictators issuing top-down decrees and recommending policies that restrict their freedom and infringe their rights.

This year’s annual meeting has been billed as the most important in its fifty-year history, given the war in Ukraine and the postpandemic “new normal.” Schwab suggested as much in his welcoming remarks, adding, “We have to reinforce our resilience against a new virus, possibly, or other risks which we have on the global agenda” (8:30 mark, emphasis mine).

Given that Schwab’s collectivist rhetoric and plans have been so poorly received that he had to write a book called The Great Narrative to justify and recast the Great Reset as both necessary and benign, one would think that Schwab might choose his words more carefully by not suggesting that a “new virus” or “other risks” are part of a “global agenda” that “we” (they) are undertaking—as if these were future events being planned. But Schwab and the WEF are naturals at generating conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists. (Incidentally, the word “collective” is used fifty-two times in The Great Narrative.)

The annual meeting featured panel discussions on a number of issues, including augmented realitycentral bank digital currenciesclimate transition in emerging economiescrypto’s carbon footprintthe digital economydiversity, equity, and inclusioneconomic sanctionsemployment in the Fourth Industrial Revolutionenergy transition in Chinaenvironmental, social, and governance (ESG) indexinggeopoliticsa global taxpandemic healthcareresponsible consumptionreturning nature to cities; and Russia, as well a special address by the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The range of topics is staggering but also indicative of the hubristic central planning ethos of the WEF. From centralized digital currencies to urban planning, the WEF’s concerns are reminiscent of and likely have been influenced by the Club of Rome and are replete with its neo-Malthusianism. It seems that there is nothing that the WEF does not claim to be expert in and nothing that it will not issue recommendations on. Yet mainstream media still deems the WEF’s Great Reset a conspiracy theory, despite Joe Biden’s recent remark that high gas prices are something to be celebrated as part of “an incredible transition” to renewables. In other words, high gas prices have always been part of Green New Deal planning, and the Biden politburo admittedly has been party to their rise.

A highlight of the 2022 meeting included Australian eSafety commissioner Julie Inman Grant saying during a panel titled Ushering in a Safer Digital Future that “freedom of speech is not the same thing as a free for all,” and that “we are going to need a recalibration of a whole range of human rights that are playing out online—from freedom of speech, to, you know, to be free from online violence.”

These ominous comments come on the heels of Australia’s slide toward totalitarianism during the pandemic and the European Union’s recent approval of the Digital Services Act, which bans “hate speech” and “disinformation” and represents a major step toward one-world governance of the internet. In particular, the EU framework for digital communications will regulate speech regarding “climate change,” health challenges like the coronavirus and other “pandemics,” and “hate speech” or other “illegal speech” as defined by the EU. To meet the EU’s regulatory requirements and to streamline their efforts, search sites and social media platforms most likely will simply apply one set of rules, the EU’s, to all online content.

In short, whether the WEF and its participants are feckless central planners and globalists or, what is more likely, powerful influencers impacting everything from government policies to corporate decision-making, this group has the temerity to suggest that they are or should be in charge of the world. Never mind leaving people alone to pursue their life interests, including their economic and family lives. These master planners must intervene against all individual, local, regional, and national plans. As Ludwig von Mises noted, such central planners are always authoritarians who wish to overwrite the plans of individuals. They believe that they are indubitably right, despite the horrendous track record of interventionism.

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