by Peter Franklin
Friday, 11
February 2022
Spotted
07:00

The World Economic Forum has lost the plot

From cold showers to animal inequality, the WEF is putting out weird content
by Peter Franklin

The World Economic Forum — also known as “Davos” — is an exclusive talking shop for the rich and powerful. As a symbol of the neoliberal order it’s long been a target for the anti-capitalist Left. More recently, it’s also become a bugbear of the populist Right. That’s not just because the WEF champions globalisation, but also because of what some see as an elitist plot to radically change our lifestyles. 

Apparently, a shadowy cabal is dead set on getting us to eat bugs instead of real meat and to live in pods instead of proper flats and houses. Needless to say, the conspiracy theories are overblown; but, as I explain here, insect protein and tiny homes are definitely on the Davos agenda. 

According to the conspiracists, we’re being primed to be satisfied with less — not only less stuff, but also less control over our lives. The WEF doesn’t help itself when it puts out videos like this one about life in 2030. Notoriously, it opens with the words: “You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy.” 

The defenders of Davos point out that this was just a collection of predictions, not a manifesto. Nevertheless, the WEF continues to push some distinctly odd messages. For instance, this week it dropped a new video promoting the idea of regular cold showers. These are good, because people subjected to them “take fewer sick days off work”:

Apparently, there’s scientific research to back this up. But did no one at Davos think about the optics? In case they hadn’t noticed, household energy bills are surging to record highs. A cold shower is all we’ll be able to afford soon. Still, never mind, at least we’ll be able to work harder!

Amazingly, this wasn’t the weirdest video that WEF has released this week. Rather, the prize for that belongs to this effort, entitled “Animals pass on privilege too, say scientists”:

It would seem that young squirrels “inherit” buried acorns from their parents, thereby granting them a survival advantage. Chimps and monkeys do the same thing with nut-cracking tools. The suggestion is that inequality in human societies has “deep evolutionary roots”. In bygone times, we would have interpreted these examples from nature as a model for responsible parenthood. But the WEF interprets them as “privilege” instead.

So here’s a message for the folks at Davos: if you don’t want to look weird, then stop being weird.

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AC Harper
AC Harper
9 months ago

The defenders of Davos point out that this was just a collection of predictions, not a manifesto.

Unfortunately there is the ‘sticky escalator’ trick in play. An organisation or business that sets a future goal in the far future can get there in small unremarkable steps. Once you step on that small sticky step the escalator bears you on to the distant goal and it is very difficult to step off.
So some examples: the EU and ‘ever closer union’. The march through the institutions. The Chinese government. Government nudge units. The BBC and its pro Establishment bias. Perhaps the more ideological political parties. We managed to step off the ‘ever closer union’ escalator but others have not managed it.
The World Economic Forum is bonkers, but successful, because it is pushing the goal of the future further forward and dragging other organisations along for the ride.

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
9 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Agree and don’t forget all the opportunistic academics pushing a lot of this stuff too because it gets them “impact” and thus ultimately funding.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
9 months ago

Yes, the Left operates on a patronage system. You say or publish the correct thoughts and you get funded. Much of academia is like this.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
9 months ago

From what little I’ve seen and read of Klaus Schwab, cold showers as character building, and inherited privilege being part of the natural order of things, don’t seem entirely out of kilter with his world view. Hiding the implications of the latter, in modern privilege jargon, is also instructive.

Dictatorship by those trained to rule has been an idea around since Plato’s time. My impression is that Klaus is a firm believer.

Wiki’s opening sentence describes him as a German engineer and economist. No doubt displaying lots of my own unconscious bias’s, but those three adjectives together sound alarm bells from the off.

I look forward to hearing from Galeti

Last edited 9 months ago by Martin Bollis
Graham Stull
Graham Stull
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

“Klaus”, but otherwise you are spot on.
And I ask: Why do we continue to allow genuine concerns over the concentration of power to be dismissed as ‘conspiracy theories’. Power is concentrated among a select group of global elites. This isn’t a conspiracy theory, it’s a matter of documented fact.

Last edited 9 months ago by Graham Stull
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
9 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Thanks, I thought something didn’t look right. Now changed

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
9 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

I agree but hasn’t it ever been thus? It doesn’t mean they’re all working together. WW1 managed to kick off despite half the rulers being part of the same extended family.

The achievement of the West wasn’t just democracy, it was establishing counteracting centres of power – the demos, independent judiciary, a free press and, the church.

As the church has slid into irrelevance in the west, the reach of an independent judiciary has been limited by a globalised world, and the free press overtaken by a media controlled by oligarchs, we’re left with an awful lot on the shoulders of the demos.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

That about sums it up.

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

It doesn’t help that he also looks exactly like a classic Bond villain.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
9 months ago

He really does. Mind you, not as much as the billionaire supervillain who flew into space in a giant phallus. But still pretty Bond-villiany.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

‘German engineer and economist. No doubt displaying lots of my own unconscious bias’s, but those three adjectives together sound alarm bells from the off.’

Unacceptable prejudice IMO.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
9 months ago

“No doubt displaying lots of my own unconscious bias” rather indicates a degree of self knowledge of my prejudices.

We all have them. Do you know yours?

Dana Jumper
Dana Jumper
9 months ago

Accurate stereotype, I would submit.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
9 months ago

The bumdest of the bumd. Looking for creative ways to avoid the moderation package!
Of course the WEF is considered by many to be evil. I’m tending that way.

Barbara Elsmore
Barbara Elsmore
9 months ago

‘According to the conspiracists, we’re being primed to be satisfied with less — not only less stuff, but also less control over our lives.’
Why do you insist that it is ‘conspiracists’ that see these things? Surely one can spot what is going on without being a conspiracist?

Dana Jumper
Dana Jumper
9 months ago

I think he had his tongue planted in his cheek… At least, that’s how I read it.

Count me in that group, by the way.

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
9 months ago

Cold showers also a “thing” at the moment amongst the more unconventional crowd…unless Wim Hof is a WEF plant (a joke I hope) so maybe they’re even just jumping on a bandwagon this time or helping to reel in some of those of the natural and health persuasion?

Ann Roberts
Ann Roberts
9 months ago

I think what I find rather scary is the memorandum of understanding between the WEF and the UN. Here in Scotland, we have an Agenda 2030 strategic plan aligned to the UN. All neat and tidy, and on the face of it, sensible in response to climate change. What is in question is the wish to move to the stakeholder economy where national governments would be just one of the stakeholders. I wonder if Agenda 2030 primed governments to blindly follow messages about how to handle the Pandemic and not to be more discerning about the Science. And then there is The Trusted News Initiative from the BBC which has stunted debate.

Mikis Hasson
Mikis Hasson
9 months ago

Why is reality supposed to be a bad thing? Why do we need to obscure the fact that privilege is inevitable by genetics alone and that parents by instinct want to give their offspring an edge? Why suddenly we are against nature and the woke want to make everyone a victim, just because privilege is an inevitable fact of existence? WEF intentions are not the big danger, the deniers of reality are: the author of the article, the commentators and all those who deny nature and propose equality of outcome and thus a very dangerous legislatively and societally imposed utopía are a real, not conspiracy delusion danger!

Dana Jumper
Dana Jumper
9 months ago
Reply to  Mikis Hasson

I think you may have mis-read the author. It seems to me he does the exact opposite of what you propose. If I mis-read him, I apologize.
Privilege is an inaccurate characterization of what you describe and that is what the author points out. I don’t want to cede the word to the progressives, nor let them corrupt it by applying it incorrectly.

Mary Belgrave
Mary Belgrave
9 months ago

Wim Hof has been recommending cold water showers and cold water swimming for ages. I swam with a local sea swimming group up until Xmas ( no wetsuits) and it was certainly exhilarating. It is hard to explain how vital you feel afterwards and how much more productive the day is after braving the cold water.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
9 months ago
Reply to  Mary Belgrave

I think it was the end goal that was the issue – ie more work being done for the WEF members !!

John Riordan
John Riordan
9 months ago

I got into the cold showers thing last year, though I have to admit that I lost my enthusiasm by Christmas. It does make you feel better I have to say.

That said, it’s not going to help the WEF in its mission to make us all use less energy, because you aren’t supposed to have ONLY a cold shower, it’s meant to be a minute or so of cold water added to your normal shower. You’re actually using more water like this, even if the boiler isn’t working any harder.

Sam
Sam
9 months ago

The Davos crowd don’t strike me as a lot of people who are all out taking cold showers “for the benefit.”
Cold showers make you feel really good, no doubt. I’ve done it. They also suck and I’ve not found the benefit to be worth the dread.