Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Davos Report, Day 2

(image via CNN)

Thank God here comes Davos to rescue us from that magnum of chloroform that is Sundance (Exafferated cough suggesting feigned detachment) . As we said: Sundance jumped the Shark last year. Nothing interesting appears to be going on there anymore. From David Rothkopf from Foreign Policy:

"Inevitably, a considerable component of this year's side meetings will focus on the following issues: the situation in Iraq, the fate of a unipolar world when the one superpower seems to be bent on self-destruction, the absence of Bill Clinton and Angelina Jolie (two of last year's stars), the absence of a big contingent from China and what that may portend about the future of Davos, the presence of a large delegation from India, what to wear to the Malaysian-themed black-tie gala, what top speakers like Angela Merkel, Tony Blair, Mahmoud Abbas, Bill Gates, Lakshmi Mittal, and others might say or not say, and—above all—on the deals large and small that will be cut in silence. Davos is mostly about what is not on the official program, not covered in the papers"

And the almond-eyed "money honey" Maria Bartiromo, who may or may not be having an affair with CitiGroup's former head of global wealth management, Todd Thomson. From Maria's interview with Swiss businessman, economist, and philanthropist Klaus Schwab for Businessweek:

"(Bartiromo:) Last year, India was a big focus, as was innovation. What will the hot topics be this year?

"(Schwab:) Priorities evolve during the meeting itself. But a general issue will be the changing power equation, which means that everywhere in society and business, the power is moving from the center to the periphery. Vertical command-and-control structures are being eroded and replaced by communities and different platforms. We are moving into the Web 2.0 world, and this has tremendous implications on the national level and on business models. Also, three countries could be in the limelight: Russia, because the whole issue of energy security is at the top of the agenda; Vietnam, which is a new preferred place of investment; and Mexico, with the new President coming. And even if we are moving more and more into a multi-country world, the U.S. is the still the key actor. We will have a delegation of 12 senators, and [issues will be] the sustainability of U.S. economic growth and the risk of the falling dollar."

There are far fewer celebrities this year than in years past. Even Arnold Schwazenegger won't be attending. His broken leg caused him to pull out of his scheduled talk on "climate related issues," reports Mark Landler of the International herald Tribune. The themes will be Al Gore-ish -- the environment, Web 2.0, and the paradigm shift, as Klaus Schwab puts it to Landler, "from the center to the periphery."

Arianna Huffington, new to Davos Blogging, says in HuffPo: "Davos (or DavOHs, as they say it here) officially starts Wednesday morning, but I had my first Davos Moment Tuesday night, walking in to the Hotel Seehof. After making it though the security phalanx, I spotted at one and the same time a sign saying 'Bloggers Nightcap' (a late-night gathering of all the bloggers who are here from around the world), and Klaus Schwab -- the Swiss professor who created the World Economic Forum 36 years ago.

"'This is historic,' he told me. 'Opening up Davos to the blogosphere at the very moment when our world is increasingly schizophrenic: on the surface a lot is going well, but just beneath the surface, there is a lot trouble, including global warming and the crises in the Middle East. I'm not a pessimist, but there is a danger things will end up very badly if we don't take the right actions.'

"Inside the wood-paneled, candlelit room, we found ourselves hugging each other like long lost friends.

"Then, Ben Hammersley, who created The Guardian's Comment is Free, said only half-jokingly, 'If we're doing it from Davos, blogging is officially over.' I countered that it was just the beginning of the next blogging explosion. 'Today Davos, tomorrow the Bohemian Grove. I can't wait until someone is videoblogging Henry Kissinger running naked in the woods.'"

Oh God, please NO!

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