The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting took place in Davos on January 16-20, 2023. International observers sat down with Sputnik to formulate the main message of the gathering in a nutshell.
“This year’s forum featured the new state of the world: divided, resentful, and grim,” Gal Luft, director of the Washington-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, told Sputnik. “Davos has become the dressing room of the West and is more divorced than ever from the rest. It no longer represents the real concerns of most of the world’s population. Its obsession with climate change, social justice, gender and other forms of wokeness has made it a laughing stock and target of disdain for most of the world.”
The World Economic Forum (WEF), an international non-governmental and lobbying organization, was founded in January 1971 by German economist Klaus Schwab. Initially the entity was called “European Management Forum”; it changed its name to the World Economic Forum in 1987.
Bringing together business executives, thought leaders, and prominent politicians, the forum sought to become a global platform to spearhead the ideas of globalization and solve pressing economic and political dilemmas. However, some Western commentators observed that the forum quickly morphed into a technocratic globalist elitist club which sought to dictate rules for the rest of the world.
“Globalization was based on the premise of broad acceptance of global institutions, norms and rules, as well as reasonably free flow of goods, money and information,” Luft said. “Each one of those has been compromised over the past few years, first with the US-China decoupling and second with the war in Europe. Instead, we have global bifurcation into two camps – the collective West plus honorary members and all the others – and the emergence of new institutions, alliances, financial instruments, trade blocs and priority sets.”
“There is no return to the post-WWII system. In addition, we are seeing massive repudiation of some of the institutions and individuals who have been most associated with globalization: the media, Davos, entertainment industry etc. De-globalization can also be seen along cultural fault lines. Western ideas, ethics, and ‘values’ are rejected by billions who see them as dangerous and destabilizing,” the US scholar continued.
Russia’s Independence Doesn’t Fit in Davosian ‘Ideal World’
The necessity to “defeat” Russia became a leitmotif of the gathering, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declaring that to end the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the Russian special operation “must fail.” The chancellor called for stepping up military aid for Ukraine, but fell short of confirming that Berlin would send its Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Kiev, something that the Ukrainian regime, Poland, Finland, and the UK are urging him to do.
For his part, Harvard Professor Kenneth Rogoff, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), urged the West not only to step up anti-Russia sanctions, but to create conditions for “regime change” inside Russia.
“The forum in Davos is a congress of adherents of globalism,” Konstantin Babkin, president of the Rosagromash Association and co-chair of Moscow Economic Forum (MEF), told Sputnik. “These people would like to see a unified world where global corporations rule, dominating even the official state structures. What is happening in Ukraine contradicts their ideas of an ideal world. Many multinational corporations had to leave Russia. So, [Russia] has fallen out of the control of these Western corporations. This contradicts their ideas about the ideal state of affairs.”
While the Davos participants insisted that it is necessary to support Ukraine and to make sure that Russia obeys the rules established by the West, it appears that many countries have tired of this bellicose rhetoric, according to Babkin.
‘Biodiversity’ in Economy & Politics Instead of Global Unification
The Western-centric globalized world order is falling apart at the seams, with other countries adopting a non-aligned status and implementing their own scenarios of development in terms of their financial policies, foreign trade, and tax policies, according to Babkin. The Russian scholar argues that re-industrialization and strengthening of national economies could ensure the world’s stability and diversity of models.
“It would be nice to have different models, different states, different peoples, different cultures,” the Russian scholar said, drawing parallels with natural biodiversity. “[There will be] Iranian model, Indian model, Chinese model, Western model, and rejection of globalism. I think this is a good thing, and Russia needs to develop its own economy. I can also advise Iran, and China, and other large states, and state associations (…) I think the world that Davos is promoting is so unstable.”
Remarkably, major developing nations, including Russia and China, “have shunned the forum and inspired others to do the same,” said Luft, calling these countries a “resistance bloc.”
“In the years to come, with the inevitable departure of Klaus Schwab from the scene, the forum will lose its relevancy and will become just another exclusive overpriced Swiss club with entry ticket of $250,000,” Luft said. “It has already become a symbol of elitism and arrogance, representing the garden as opposed to the jungle, to use Josep Borrell’s terminology, and a platform to advance Western priorities.”
Babkin echoed Luft by saying that even though the Davos forum is likely to continue bringing together Western executives and politicians, it has ceased being a truly international platform and will never become what some call “the world’s government.”
“Globalization the way we know it has died and Davos 2023 was its funeral ceremony,” Luft concluded.