So the 0.01% are arriving here in the stunning, snow filled valley of Davos. The flurries have been gently floating their way, succumbing to gravity all day. I suppose it is something like the ‘global’ financial crisis…so many factors are slowly succumbing to the new realities of realigned global power structures.
This is my fifth Davos. Each year brings with it new ideas, expectations and global crisis. I remember so clearly two years ago when ‘climate change’ as added by the audience to the list of global risks….much to the consternation of the organizers who choreograph this public events like papal audiences. Last year the emerging role of sovereign wealth funds, coupled with the irresponsibility of the US consumer seemed to top the list of conversational topics. And, the most fascinating for me at an intellectual level is the discussion around the end of capitalism.
This year I expect to see more posturing between those that have capital to spare and those that need it desperately. I also expect that Europe will come up in the open sessions quite a bit. I expect that the general fragility of the energy markets will be politely ignored. And, I expect to come away having learned something every day.
I am also looking very much forward to the sessions on Urban Infrastructure. Arup have played a key role in crafting the increasing presence of cities on the Forum’s agenda. The world needs healthy, successful, efficient and clean cities in order for the world’s economic engines to function. The WEF is really starting to understand this. And, I am excited to be able to play a strong advocate for shaping a better urban world.
WEF begins in earnest for me with a live audience debate on energy sponsored by CNBC. This to be followed by a reception for this year’s crop of ‘Technology Pioneers’. I was on the selection committee and look forward to see who go thru.
Many challenge the relevance of this global gathering. I believe, however, that a place where there is the opportunity for dialog is desperately needed. The world’s complex problems require the convergence of the political, businesses and civil society. I plan to submit my thoughts and learning daily to this post. Feel free to send me notes and questions and I will do my best to leverage them at this global fourm.