Beginning tomorrow, 22nd Jan till 25th Jan, Davos in Switzerland will be in the limelight; what with some of the richest and most influential people of the world congregating under one roof. Yes, the objective is to get the views of these global leaders on the most pressing problems of the world. But what we always get instead are many not-so-interesting views, no solutions to any of the issues; yet, what remains the most interesting aspect of Davos is the behind-the-scenes transactions that happen. Isnt it apparent – Davos, on a global agenda does not achieve anything yet, year after year, world leaders come there. Why? Because these movers and shakers of the world cannot afford to miss the profits which they rake up; lets face it, Davos is essentially a transactional affair!
This year, the theme at Davos– Globalization 4.0. The aim is to build a world order and international architecture for the political realities of the 21st century, taking into account rising inequality, rise in nationalism and taking cognizance of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ – the age of automation or AI.
This does sound like a tight slap on the face! Seriously? The USA is reeling under shut down with no end in sight because Trump wants to build a steel wall and fracture the world of 7 lakh “dreamers.” The world has never been so divided or rightist as it is now. Even in India. So how will the rich and famous talking about this fractured world, which many of them helped create, help create a future?
So many global leaders today have won because they prefer closed borders over economic prosperity, complete intolerance, localization over globalization. And at the same time, there is Brexit where Britain has decided to shut down its open borders with Europe. Thus heckles and protectionism is peaking and we have this meet which aims to come together to make this world a better place.
The Davos has really not been able to do much – with so many world leaders coming on one stage, have they ever been able to predict or even prevent any financial crisis?
But it is what it is. The United Nations does not do much to prevent wars and human atrocities, yet it exists. That’s how it is with Davos too. The fact that it is gets such powerful people in one place at one time is what puts it in the news – the power of the guest list and not as much the agenda.
It would not be wrong to say that it is these very elitists at Davos, failed to anticipate and maybe created the current anti-establishment movement all across the globe. Yes, the discussions and debates at Davos are intellectually stimulating but they remain that – mere discussions and theories whom the larger section of the world population views as “those out of touch with reality and with no inkling of the economic challenges which the masses actually face.”
One thing does happen though – huge business and political deals happen behind closed doors there; maybe some collateral benefits do accrue after all!
Who all are attending at Davos?
Over 40 heads of international organizations
65 heads of state
Trump will not attend as he has to deal with shut down crisis and Theresa May too will skip as she has Brexit mess on hand.
France's Emmanuel Macron and Russia's Vladimir Putin will also be marked as ‘absent’
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Italy's Giuseppe Conte
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
New Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon
Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio
Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella
CEOs of Adidas, Rio Tinto, Embraer, AXA, Societe Generale, Total, Allianz, Bayer, Deutsche Bank, Lufthansa, KPMG, Siemens, Generali, Hitachi, Nomura, Sumitomo, IKEA, Royal Dutch Shell, Telenor, Alibaba, Credit Suisse, Nestle, Novartis, UBS, Barclays, BP, Standard Chartered, Unilever, Bank of America, Cargill, Citi, Cisco, Dell, IBM, Morgan Stanley, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Coca-Cola and Visa.
What about the Indian contingent?
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as also his cabinet colleague Dharmendra Pradhan have dropped out
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis are also skipping
Those attending includes:
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu
Andhra Pradesh minister Lokesh Nara
Punjab minister Manpreet Badal
Mukesh Ambani with wife Neeta and children Akash and Isha
CEOs Sanjiv Bajaj, N Chandrasekaran, Sajjan Jindal, Anand Mahindra, Sunil Mittal, Nandan Nilekani, Salil Parekh, Azim Premji and son Rishad, Ravi Ruia and Ajay Singh.
Karan Johar is also attending, so is Raghuram Rajan, New Development Bank President K V Kamath and IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath.