Davos 2014: The annual meeting of the World
Economic Forum is set to open on Wednesday with more than 2,500 due to attend at
an average cost of $40,000
according to CNN.
Inequality is one of the themes this year and
Joseph S. Nye, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
writes on the WEF blog: "We already have many gated communities. Technology
is making markets more efficient. More and more things can be done with the use
of markets, and that means the role of government, which still has an important
role in regulating markets, may be seen as too cumbersome. In that sense,
citizens will find that they can use markets to buy goods – say, security – that
are in the purview of government as 'public' goods, but can now be marketized as
The first Annual Meeting was held in 1971, with
444 participants. It lasted for a whole fortnight. This year’s meeting is the
Donald Armbrecht, a digital media producer at the World Economic Forum,
writes: "In the late 1920s Albert Einstein was a regular visitor to
Davos, leading discussions with French, German and Swiss academics in an annual
summer school, the Davoser Hochschulkurse. In 1928 he gave a lecture on
relativity, and began by telling his audience: 'This enterprise is admirably
suited to establish relations between individuals of different nationalities,
relations which help to strengthen the idea of a European community.' Sadly the
collapse of the Weimar Republic ended the Hochschule project."
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the final chapters of Treasure Island in
Davos in the early 1880s. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote short stories and
articles there in the early 1890s, helping to popularise skiing and tobogganing.
Thomas Mann’s influential novel The Magic Mountain was set in Davos, just
before WW1. After the war, the expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
lived in Davos from 1918 until his death in 1938.
The youngest participant this week will be 21-year-old Umar Anwar Jahangir,
a 'Global Shaper' from Islamabad, who heads Bahria Medics, a student run social
welfare organization. At the other end of the age range is Shimon Peres,
president of Israel, at 90, who will be among 40 heads of state and
Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the WEF, has told the business
executives, academics and government officials attending Davos this year that
much remains to be done. "Economic growth patterns, the geopolitical landscape,
the social contract that binds people together, and our planet's ecosystem are
all undergoing radical, simultaneous transformations, generating anxiety and, in
many places, turmoil," he said.
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