The world’s elite—the billionaires and CEO’s and the heads of state who serve them—are gathering this week for the World Economic Forum, their annual working holiday in Davos, Switzerland. Among this year’s attendees are Bill Gates, General Motors Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Benjamin Netanyahu, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and 2,500 other representatives of the ruling class, including jesters Leonardo DiCaprio and Kevin Spacey. Think of it as an in-service for the people who own the planet.
The theme of this year’s meeting is “The Fourth Industrial Revolution,” a phenomenon that receives this chilling description by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Director of the World Economic Forum:
The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to the fusion of technologies across
the physical, digital and biological worlds which is creating entirely new
capabilities and dramatic impacts on political, social and economic systems.
The speed, scale and systemic nature of this transformation has the potential
to disrupt all sectors and call into question the essence of human nature and
identity. The purpose of our Meeting this year is to build a shared understanding
of this change, which is essential if we are to shape our collective future in a
way that reflects ultimately that the human being should be at the centre.
This is no academic conference at which scientists or philosophers speculate as to the direction of the future. The World Economic Forum is where our future is directed for us. These are the people George Carlin had in mind when he talked about “our owners,” those who have the power to decide the fates of the earth’s billions. And one of the meeting’s primary topics will be “security.” Given the guest list, we can be assured whose security is meant, and given recent global developments, we can be certain who and what is perceived to threaten that security.
So far, 2016 has given every indication that the economic tsunami long predicted by conservative commentators and internet “conspiracy theorists” alike may be about to come crashing down. China’s economy is a beached whale, U.S. markets are accelerating toward a massive selloff, and around the world capitalism is contracting despite the trillions of empty dollars that central banks have pumped into financial markets in recent years. At ground level, these developments spell crushing poverty in the developing world, cruel “austerity” in Western nations, and a gulf between rich and poor that previously could be found only in fairy tales. All of which has resulted in an increasingly restive working class. It is this class—the people not invited to Davos—who represent the threat to the owners’ security.
Five years ago, outrage over the causes for and the handling of the economic crisis of 2007 blossomed in the form of a vibrant and peaceful movement known as Occupy. In November of 2011, in a coordinated attack across the nation from New York to Oakland, America’s newly militarized police brutally destroyed Occupy encampments. It was the best solution those in power could come up with, or the only one they cared to use. Never was dialogue with the protesters attempted, only the language of force. Why did so peaceful a movement provoke so violent a reaction? The answer to that question can be summed up in the name of the original protest—Occupy Wall Street. Not Occupy Washington. The Occupy movement had dispensed with the usual political channels and gone straight to the actual seat of power, Wall Street. However diffuse its messages, Occupy Wall Street was a frightening development for those who travel to Davos each year. It was a movement aimed not at the political establishment but at the economic establishment, not at the picture but at the man behind the curtain. It was dangerous.
Partial Davos guest list found at Guess Who’s Coming to Davos 2016?
Photo credit: hypoxianet.com