Davos is back and the world has changed, but the global elite don’t seem to have noticed

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The last time top politicians, CEOs and billionaires gathered in a Swiss mountain village to discuss society’s biggest problems and present their solutions, the coronavirus outbreak in China it was little more than a remote threat. The economy was booming and a major armed conflict in the Europe it wasn’t on anyone’s high risk list.

More than two years later, the world has been shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine . But for the rich and powerful arriving in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum very little has changed.

“Davos epitomizes one of the biggest challenges facing society today, which is self-congratulatory elites,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale management professor who speaks regularly with many high-profile executives.

The conference – which combines high-profile panels with flashy parties – seeks to bring together important people to tackle pressing issues such as inequality, climate changes future of technology and geopolitical conflict.

But the logic behind inviting some of the richest people on Earth to solve these problems while staying in a resort town seems even more shaky these days.

the billionaires added $5 trillion to their fortunes during the pandemic, according to an Oxfam report published in January. The ten richest men in the world saw their collective wealth more than double between March 2020 and November 2021.

Meanwhile, tens of millions of people around the world were pushed into extreme poverty as the global economy shut down and many struggling families came to rely on emergency government support.

“The past two years have dramatized and clarified what has been true for some time now, which is an elite plutocratic class that is not just leaving the rest of the world behind, but is thriving precisely by stepping on everyone else’s neck,” he said. Anand Giridharadas, author of the book “Winners Take It All: The Elite Riddle of Changing the World”.

The liquidation of financial market this year has hit the ultra-rich. But that will be of little comfort to people in both developed and developing economies that are facing the worst cost-of-living crises in decades.

the shot of the food prices and two fuels it is already causing hunger and hardship, fueling instability, sparking protests and encouraging political insurgents.

The 2022 forum was initially scheduled for January but was postponed after the outbreak of Omicron variant . And while organizers patched together a late spring edition that they hope will remain relevant, many heavyweights have scheduling conflicts or are choosing not to participate.

the CEO of JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon, who leads the largest bank in the U.S will not attend the event, which coincides with the company’s annual investor day presentation.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden – who gave a grand speech at Davos in 2017 – will wrap up a trip to South Korea and Japan. China’s presence is very slim, with its big cities still gripped by Covid-19 and its tech titans at a low ebb.

The main event will likely be a speech on Monday by the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky , who must participate by videoconference. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are also due to deliver speeches later in the week, which will be scrutinized as European Union countries struggle to agree on a formal oil embargo against Russia .

In the past, Russian politicians and oligarchs were a fixture in Davos . Founder Klaus Schwab has long emphasized that dialogue and deeper economic ties can promote peace between political opponents.

The president Vladimir Putin gave a speech at a virtual edition of the World Economic Forum last year and was invited to speak to participants in 2015 after Russia annexed Crimea.

“At this moment in history when the world has a unique and short window of opportunity to move from an era of confrontation to an era of cooperation, the ability to hear your voice – the voice of the President of the Russian Federation – is essential,” he said. Schwab when introducing Putin in 2021.

In 2020, the CEOs of Lukoil, Sberbank and Yandex were on the list of participants, along with the country’s energy minister.

This year, Putin will not be present. Nor any Russian officials, tycoons or executives. Instead, the show features discussions on issues like “Cold War 2.0” and “Return to War”.

Source: CNN Brasil

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