by Peter Franklin
Monday, 16
January 2023
Debate
11:44

The Davos 2023 agenda lies in ruins

The mood at this year’s WEF meeting is rather downbeat
by Peter Franklin
WEF founder and chairman Klaus Schwab. Credit: Getty.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Davos week! This is when the global elites gather together under the auspices of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the rest of us get to bask in their collective wisdom (at a respectful distance, of course). 

However, the mood at this year’s meeting is rather downbeat. Just look at the conference theme for 2023, which is “Cooperation in Fragmented World”.  As the blurb explains, “the twin triggers of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine [have] rattled an already brittle global system.” The arch-globalisers of the WEF are admitting that their project is in trouble. 


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In the first months of the pandemic, the messaging was very different. The WEF drew upon the finest traditions of corporate BS to present the crisis as an opportunity. Most famously, the global elites were called upon to respond to the virus with a “Great Reset”.

But by putting on this brave face, the WEF launched a thousand conspiracy theories. The Great Reset became a catch-all term for the post-Covid tyranny supposedly heading our way. And yet, as I argued here, the terrible truth about the Great Reset is that there is no Great Reset. For the global elites, it was just a comforting turn of phrase — a rhetorical flourish to create the impression that ‘Davos Man’ was still in charge of events.

That pretence is now crumbling. A note of panic is entering into the WEF’s once confident pronouncements: 

For the first time since the 1970s, the world is facing a precarious disequilibrium with growth and inflation moving in oppositive directions. This is occurring alongside heightened geo-economic fragmentation, financial sector vulnerabilities… and a climate crisis spiralling out of control…
- WEF

It’s not just the rhetoric at Davos 2023 that speaks to this sense of vulnerability, it’s also the choice of guests. This time last year, the keynote speaker was Xi Jinping and the year before that it was  Vladimir Putin, but in 2023 the “Special Address” will be delivered by, um, Ursula von der Leyen. I guess that she too is a global leader without a democratic mandate, but as an essentially powerless figurehead she’s hardly comparable to the Chinese and Russian presidents. 

She does, however, symbolise the retreat of the WEF’s ambitions. The idea that the anti-western autocracies could be bound into a globalised system of good governance has been exposed as the complacent nonsense it always was.  

When Klaus Schwab (the WEF’s founder and chairman) introduced Vladimir Putin in 2021, he bigged up Russia’s “long-standing participation” at Davos. “At this moment in history”, he said, “the ability to hear the voice of the President of the Russian Federation is essential.”

But it wasn’t essential at all. All that back-slapping and glad-handing was a distraction. Instead of hobnobbing with bloody dictators, the leaders of the free world should have been preparing for the gathering storm.

Let’s not forget that right up until the invasion of Ukraine, the leaders of Schwab’s native Germany were deepening their dependence on Russian energy, when they should have been diversifying away from it. Of course, the WEF didn’t dictate this state of affairs. Despite the conspiracy theories, Davos is just an expensive talking shop. 

Nevertheless, by providing a glittering shop window for a fragile model of globalisation, the event has played its part in weakening the West. Having moved from hubris to panic, next year’s mood should be one of remorse. 

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Chris Keating
Chris Keating
17 days ago

Not sure why anyone would go anyway except those from the western world who imagine the rest of the world is still their colony. The whole function of the WEF is a figleaf to rebrand and maintain colonialism. The new deal is the same as the old deal, we take your resources, we really care about developing your country and we care about your poor and we will minimise the destruction of your environment and we will address Climate Change, just keep your eyes averted from our private jets, don’t be envious as this is really hard work for us and we are doing it to help you, but if nothing trickles down that is not our fault. That is the fault of your local governments who are corrupt and greedy and are ripping you off. How dare you think that we own them and bribe them to do just that.
The whole meeting of the WEF is nothing more than a gathering of vultures and thieves. They are not the answer, they are the problem. This exploitation of the weak should have ended decades ago, yet here we are.
Russia and China would do themselves and the rest of the a favour if they nuked these arseholes in their lair. They don’t gather to sniff each others backsides that often, yet here is the perfect chance.

Chris Keating
Chris Keating
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

I think that von der Leyen looks like the waitress that has to run the restaurant after everyone else came down with gastro. A featherweight, totally out of her depth. As are the rest of the European politicians.
The US is destroying their industrial capacity and they just can’t say no, yet are seemingly happy to send more weapons to Ukraine to continue the process.
The mind boggles.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
16 days ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

Have some sympathy, a Wolf googled up her favourite pony the other day!

Last edited 16 days ago by stanhopecharles344
David Simpson
David Simpson
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

Possibly why a number of world leaders didn’t bother to go. Be a shame to destroy a lovely bit of Switzerland but . . .

Andy E
Andy E
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

Wow. That was quite spicy!

Phillip Arundel
Phillip Arundel
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

You are the most wrong post ever posted here… but it got most upvotes. You do know they meet twice a year? One in Cuina, one at Davos? CCP is WEF as much as all the global powers are.

But you know nothing of this obviously – so the upvotes roll in……..showing the readership here are clueless..baaa

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
17 days ago

Woof!

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Perfect response to the “dog whistle” …

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
15 days ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

Guardian reporting “Mutiny erupts among WEF staff over role of ‘Mr Davos’”.
Investors nervous about lack of succession plan.
Sir Tony Blair tipped as Schwab’s successor!

Russ W
Russ W
11 days ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

Hmm. Some truth in these words and some foolishness. I think the foolishness is to ignore the underlining ideological conflicts. But I like the ironic optimism of the writing, intended or not.

Chris Keating
Chris Keating
17 days ago

Schwab really looks like the p***k that would prevent his chauffeur from helping you when your car has broken down in the middle of nowhere. He has earned that ugly face.
He’s going to help the poor and fix climate change? Call me a skeptic.

B Emery
B Emery
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

No he’s going to make sure that the companies in the WEF get the contracts and make the money off ‘helping the poor and fixing climate change’ that is literally it.

Johan Kruger
Johan Kruger
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

Helping the poor & “fixing” climate change are mutually exclusive. As are lockdowns & economic growth.

Kat L
Kat L
3 days ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

Rather like Soros don’t you think? Every time I see a photo of him I think it’s the true picture of Dorian Gray.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
17 days ago

I agree with the author, the WEF is old news. Populists see the WEF as a malignant group of pampered elitists trying to enhance their own power through globalization. And globalization is feeding the growth of populism across the west. The days are numbered for these clowns.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
17 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I thought this article would bring out a few Unherd commenters commenting at length about sheeple and the global conspiracy.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
17 days ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I certainly don’t believe the WEF is some global conspiracy. It’s not directing heads of state to do anything. These leaders are in the thrall of the WEF, just like some voters are in the thrall of Trump.

Phillip Arundel
Phillip Arundel
17 days ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I have to go out – or I would comment at length, in a vain attempt to get you sheeple to open your eyes off the grazing you are all head down eating – and see the circling wolves…..

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
17 days ago

Grrrrrr, snarl, grrrrrr!!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
16 days ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I don’t believe it’s a global conspiracy, however I do believe that as an incredibly wealthy group they have far too much power and influence over national governments

Phillip Arundel
Phillip Arundel
17 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The WEF is exactly analogue with Hit ler in 1934.

That it uses ‘5th Generation Warfare’ (google it) instead of Kinetic War (shooting war) has allowed the stupid sheep to ignore it – these evil people are more evil than any person or oligarchy in the history of man.

They will reduce the global population by Billions, and enslave you all – and you do not notice or care.

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaa you sheep!

B Emery
B Emery
17 days ago

It is equally sheepley to repeatedly parrot conspiracys you’ve heard on rumble.

This population reduction. If they wanted to do that why didn’t they just off to their bunkers and release a really bad virus? That level of planning they could have had a vax ready for all their buddies. Then killed the billions without the elaborate multifaceted plan you keep parroting.

Last edited 17 days ago by B Emery
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
17 days ago

Cuck-oo, Cuck-oo

John Serrano-Davey
John Serrano-Davey
16 days ago

Err, I thought you had to go out Phillip

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
17 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I don’t think so. The Trudeau government has announced plans for a ‘just transition.’ A government memo leaked this week indicated they think it will get rid of 13.5% of Canadian jobs – while destroying the energy and agricultural industries. This is nutty cult like behaviour and I think they are just getting started.

Ray Kinsella
Ray Kinsella
17 days ago

The WEF speaks to the ego’s of those they flatter and reinforces the lack of substance of the Western ‘democracy’

Phillip Arundel
Phillip Arundel
17 days ago
Reply to  Ray Kinsella

”2023, which is “Cooperation in Fragmented World”. As the blurb explains, “the twin triggers of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine [have] rattled an already brittle global system.” The arch-globalisers of the WEF are admitting that their project is in trouble. ”

The writer is amazing how he is wrong about everything – every time.

The Covid response suicide the West comitted, the WWIII against themselves the West created – this is WEF WINNING!

This plandemic, this pointless WWIII resulting in the destruction of EU, it is their Plan! Their project is hugely successful – this is what they engineered! We are losing – Our Project is in trouble!

B Emery
B Emery
17 days ago

OK. But. Multi corps need people to buy stuff. Why would they destroy the economy that has made them billions of dollars. Answer me that sensibly and I will take you seriously.

Frank Ott
Frank Ott
16 days ago
Reply to  B Emery

Billions of dollars is a pointless endeavour. Ultimate control and saving the planet’s resources for themselves is their ultimate goal. The panels are to occupy the foot soldiers of the WEF. The real decision makers are plotting and celebrating the chaos they are creating.

Glyn R
Glyn R
17 days ago

I would love to believe that the WEF is feeling humbled and in retreat but I don’t.
I think Thomas Fazi’s earlier article is far more accurate. Given the fact that the WEF apparently has some 5,000 guards protecting their conference it is clear they are just a little rattled by the push back they have received from the sheer numbers that are awakening to their schemes and not finding them to their liking.
Any sign of lost confidence will be fake and if it’s down on numbers then I presume some are attempting to cover their tracks. Remember this group has ‘penetrated’ virtually every government: they are not to be trusted.

Phillip Arundel
Phillip Arundel
17 days ago
Reply to  Glyn R

they captured Merkle, Trudeau, Gates, Zuckerberg, NZ, Macron – and a VAST number of global politicians in their ‘Young Leadership’ Cult.

”The document with all names can be downloaded here.
The list goes far beyond big names like Bill Gates, Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, or Mark Zuckerberg. It includes people from all the sectors mentioned above in pretty much every country.”

https://www.riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/modern-day-censorship/meet-all-3800-graduates-of-klaus-schwabs-globalist-wef-education-programs-by-name/

just click on the link – you sheeple – you say how toothless WEF is – well read on it – in fact read my link. You all spout off on how silly the WEF is – but offer no links – because they are EVIL incarnate – check my link for fun, then read others..,..

Phillip Arundel
Phillip Arundel
17 days ago

haha, back – I am always surprised they do not bann me….

B Emery
B Emery
17 days ago

Are you still going? I hope they don’t ban you, occasionally you make good points.
You’re a bit all over the place nutter type, to take too seriously for me though. Are you going to bother filling me in on all the points I raised above?

B Emery
B Emery
17 days ago
Reply to  Glyn R

I think Sri Lanka was probably a lesson to them.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
17 days ago

One of my grandchildren has just exclaimed that the caption photo of Klaus Schwab Esq reminds him of ‘Jabba the Hut’, whoever that might be.

Helen Moorhouse
Helen Moorhouse
17 days ago

or as Mark Steyn describes him…. “a sinister Teutonic megalomaniac hiding in plain sight as a sinister Teutonic megalomaniac”.

Chris Keating
Chris Keating
17 days ago

Mark Steyn, the tautological blot?

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
17 days ago

The photo of Klaus wearing the black leather jerkin with shoulder pads was probably not well thought out by his PR staff. He looks like a villain from a Roger Moore James Bond film.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
17 days ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Or just Dr. Evil.

B Emery
B Emery
17 days ago

For everyones entertainment.
I like that they got Trudeau and gates in too.
https://ifunny.co/picture/klaus-schwab-jabba-the-hut-bill-gates-justin-trudeau-uvebeennudged-hTnUhpyS9

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
17 days ago

Ah poor Jabba, persecuted for his girth and alien ugliness in the old days before woke. Princess Leia enjoyed it I’m sure.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
17 days ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

We daren’t use “Jabba” opprobriously these days — sooo sizeist, speciesist etc. etc.

Johan Kruger
Johan Kruger
17 days ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Stop fatshaming. Jabba is just a victim of being a Hutt.

Johan Kruger
Johan Kruger
17 days ago

Klaus the Schwab. Acute observation. There is hope for the younger generation.

Last edited 17 days ago by Johan Kruger
laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
17 days ago

The humans are strange and muddled creatures. Their behaviors can be hard to explain.
For instance, the ridiculously wealthy “captains of industry”, people who should naturally desire to not be in the public eye, instead have a silly meeting, same place, same time, year after year, where they say the things they want to hear and then publish silly “papers” to reiterate it all. Any reader can see the stylistic similarities with the villains from various James Bond films. It’s public relations in the form of shooting yourself in the foot.
Will our scientists ever uncover the roots of this strange behavior?

Terry Wakefield
Terry Wakefield
17 days ago

Why did the use of untested vaccines spread so rapidly as the dictated solution to COVID? Perhaps the objective was really not to contain COVID but to test whether the majority of the developed world could be easily coerced into compliance with government dictates.

David Kingsworthy
David Kingsworthy
17 days ago

I’m no expert in WEFerism, but my sense is that they have positioned themselves so as to “win” when global networks work together (i.e. during peak Covid hysteria) and when they don’t — because you see, it only shows the need for greater integration led by the Davosians.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
17 days ago

Nice little off the ball elbow to the ribs of Ms Von der Leyen there. I appreciated it anyway.

Nic Cowper
Nic Cowper
17 days ago

The headline image says it all for me 🙂 Religious psychopath and fame obsessed ex musician; individually capable by deed of fixing world hunger yet clinging to sound byte PR instead. How much is a ticket to that seat again?

Nic Cowper
Nic Cowper
17 days ago
Reply to  Nic Cowper

Sorry this headline image in case you were confused https://unherd.com/2023/01/how-the-davos-elite-took-back-control/

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
16 days ago

Good to see the attitude to WEF change dramatically on the global business networking platform of LinkedIn. Most coverage is anti-WEF – “you’re a global parasite if you attend WEF or are associated to it”…
Loved the Putin, Xi, von der Leyen paragraph btw.

Paula G
Paula G
16 days ago
Reply to  Justin Clark

McKinsey Consulting did her job as Defense Secretary. Germany did not have not have enough airplanes, panzers that ran, nor small arms that did not jam. However, von der Leyen did get pregnancy uniforms for women and trans women,

I don’t have a link, but a mainstream newspaper, maybe Die Welt, fully sketched out a proposal on how to improve Germany’s armed services, written by one of McKinsey’s just out of graduate school Wunderkinds. At the top of the proposal was the (already paid for) advice that her department needed to allocate more money on consulting, if they wanted good quality information.

Genau! Exactly! Straight up said, if you want good information, spend more money. Then the lovely and competent von der Leyen was finally caught out for spending simply so much by outsourcing herself to McKinsey posr-grads, and possibly other consulting firms. And failed upward to the U.N.!

Probably, Robin Alexander or others could write a competent summary on the failure as springboard to the global governing table of the lovely and competent Ursula von der Leyen.

Last edited 16 days ago by Paula
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
16 days ago
Reply to  Paula G

What utter gibberish is this?
My favourite part is the “I don’t have a link but maybe somebody said this once”!
The WEF really does bring out the worst in teh bug eyed conspiracy loons – great to watch!