How many articles will you read about the annual conference at Davos? How many will miss the point?
If you are a news junkie, the answer to the first question is “A lot.” The answer to the second question, sadly, is about the same. In a polarized world where everyone is more enthralled with their own opinion than any sense of objective truth most of what will be written on this conference will be colored.
And that’s a damned shame, because Davos has evolved into Ted-talk-o-rama. It’s really accessible and interesting – and worth reading up on whether you agree with the presenters or not.
The conference started in 1971 to discuss the future of European cooperation. Taking off from the initial success of this, it expanded in 1987 to be what it is today – the World Economic Forum (WEF). Initially meant to be a place where bankers, finance ministers, and academics came together it was indeed very boring and dry for the first quarter century or so.
It also tended to be behind closed doors most of the time, releasing only prepared final texts and leaving out a lot of discussion.
Not any more. The WEF has expanded its reach to include all aspects of economics, which is to say nearly all aspects of human interaction. The overall theme this year is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.” To address this broad theme, the conference has invited speakers ranging from activists to historians, world leaders to bankers, and just about everyone in between. The doors are open and the cameras are always running.
Topics addressed include slavery, pollution, the future of work, refugees, and just about everything which makes the headlines.
It’s a lot to slog through, so some of the nasty articles are simply written by authors who are overwhelmed. That’s no excuse, as we all are. Context is key to understanding this world, and there is no better place to see where the best minds in the world are going.
There’s not much more to say than just read it. All of it. Watch the presentations. Absorb it. This is our planet, and whether you agree with what you say or not it’s important to know exactly why you feel the way you do. Things are moving forward in the face of tremendous obstacles and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.
The only question you should ask is, “Do I want to be informed, or not?” If the answer is that you want to be informed, there is no better primary source than the WEF website itself. Skip the articles on it, including this one. There’s just nothing more to add.