Justin’s note: The 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is in the books.
This is an elite conference that takes place at the end of January every year. It’s held in the exclusive ski resort town of Davos, Switzerland, and is attended by billionaires, heads of state, and members of the mainstream media.
This year, the so-called Davos crowd met to discuss the rise of nationalism, economic equality, and climate change.
Now, I know most people agree that these are some of the biggest problems facing the world today. But I can’t help but wonder if these are the people who should be trying to solve those issues. After all, you could easily make a case that these “masters of the universe” are to blame for these issues.
So I got Doug Casey on the phone to hear his take…
Justin: What do you make of the World Economic Forum [WEF] and the people who converge at Davos every year?
Doug: There are many conferences like the one in Davos every year. Including the famous Bilderberg Meeting, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Bohemian Grove in California.
The WEF meeting in Davos has become perhaps the richest and most important. The WEF has about 700 employees. I went on their website, and the emphasis is on things like “public-private partnership,” “stakeholders,” “social entrepreneurship,” “sustainability,” blah, blah, blah. All the usual virtue-signaling catchphrases. It was founded by a German academic named Klaus Schwab. Interestingly, he got a PhD in Economics from the University of Fribourg in 1967, when I was also there. If I’d met him, it’s most unlikely we would have gotten along.
It’s “invitation only” to top business executives, celebrities, bureaucrats, fund managers, academics, heads of state, NGO executives, and the like. The usual suspects. These people form a subculture. They’re all members, or hangers-on, of various Deep States. They prefer to associate with other people they consider to be peers. If it turns out you don’t share their worldview, you won’t get invited back.
Davos is basically a love fest for the international ruling class. They like to get together, hang out, and schmooze because they all know about each other, even if they don’t know each other personally. That’s the essence of what goes on at Davos.
Now, I know the conspiracy types will say, “These people have gotten together to conspire against all of us little people.” And some of that undoubtedly happens. That’s nothing new. In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith pointed out that whenever people in the same business get together they always conspire against the public. Of course. That’s human nature, and nothing new. It’s just the normal state of things that should be accepted as reality.
Justin: Have you ever attended the conference in Davos?
Doug: No. Although I passed through when I was living in Switzerland many years ago. In the unlikely event I was invited, I wouldn’t have much in common with the other attendees. I know that because I was invited to Concordia in New York a couple years ago. It was made up of exactly the same people who show up at Davos and conferences like it.
I found that I didn’t like them. And I strongly suspect they didn’t like me. Even though I was on my best behavior. But that’s nothing new. I occasionally get invited to dinner parties in Aspen, with the same kind of people. But usually not more than once. Why might that be? Well, as you know, I say what I think. And that’s usually at odds with what the Masters of the Universe think.
I ran something called the Eris Society in Aspen from 1980 to 2010. I described it as a gathering of people that should know each other but probably didn’t know each other. It was, of course, invitation only. Attendees, generally, had to have done something to stand out. Lots of well-known people flew in to Aspen to give a presentation, and just talk to the other attendees for three days.
Justin: What sort of people attended your event? Was it the same crowd you’d find at Davos?
Doug: A very different crowd. Typically about 100, not very large, but with very few corporate bigshots, NGO types, government officials, or the like. Although we did get an unofficial – I think – visit from the FBI one year. They wanted to be sure nothing subversive was going on.
Eris drew lots of writers, scientists, and thinkers. I’m not looking at a list, but people like Paul MacCready, inventor of the Gossamer Condor. Stewart Brand, who founded the Whole Earth Catalog. Sonny Barger, the president of the Hells Angels motorcycle club. Eric Drexler, the leading light of nanotechnology. Harry Browne. Ron Paul. Karl Hess. It was always a lively and entertaining gathering.
I enjoyed running Eris, but decided that 30 years was enough of putting on an expensive party. That, and everything winds down over time. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is evident in all things…
Frankly I’m underwhelmed by Davos. It’s just a bunch of rich busybodies, flying in on hundreds of private jets, pretending to be do-gooders. Well, maybe not pretending. Some actually are do-gooders, which is worse than pretending. I despise that class of people.
Justin: Doug, what do you make of billionaires getting together at events like the WEF Annual Meeting to tackle issues like economic equality? Do these people really have the little guy’s best interests in mind? Or is that just window dressing?
Doug: It’s window dressing, and hypocrisy. These people know they can’t solve the world’s problems by giving speeches and eating hors d’oeuvres at cocktail parties. The rich have been getting richer at an accelerating rate for at least the last generation. And I promise you they’re looking to get richer. They absolutely don’t want to see any basic changes in the system. They’re rich mostly because of central bank money printing. It benefits them most directly because they’re closest to the fire hydrants of money that spew out of Washington, New York, and similar places around the world.
These people are the self-righteous epitome of the Establishment. They’re absolutely opposed to free minds and free markets. These people are, however, in a position to take advantage of governments that control so much of the world’s economy. That’s why you’ve got heads of state there along with heads of corporations, along with so-called opinion influencers.
They get conventional “economists” together to explain that’s happening and what “we” should be doing about it. Of course they all pontificate about how much money they give to charity, and how they believe in helping the poor. Coming from these people, it’s all hypocrisy and BS. Of course my views on “charity” aren’t very mainstream.
These people are basically there to show the flag, establish the pecking order, feel important, plant some seeds for government policies, and maybe do a deal or two. Somebody described Davos as the place where billionaires tell millionaires about how the middle class should work harder to help the poorest class. That’s correct.
The bigshots at Davos aren’t going to fix anything, except maybe a few elections. They don’t even understand the problems. But it’s not hard to understand the attendees. Everybody, including the African goatherder with flies buzzing around his face, wants to be a bigshot. That’s true whether you’re hanging out at your local bar, the local VFW, or local Rotary Club. If you’re running with the big dogs, you probably want to be a bigshot at Davos.
Most of these people aren’t the founders of corporations or creators of wealth. They’re mostly managers and bureaucrats. They’re basically high-level cubicle dwellers. If there’s any justice, most of them lose most of their money when we enter the trailing edge of the Greater Depression hurricane. It would be nice to see the average guy do better. But preferences mean nothing; that’s just a pipedream. Instead, we’re going to see huge growth in the welfare state and an accelerating collapse of Western Civilization. As well as increasing the celebrity status of borderline morons like AOC.
Justin: Yeah, I also find it ironic that many of these billionaires flew to Davos on private jets to discuss how “we” can stop climate change.
Doug: These fools love to talk about global warming, which they attribute to carbon dioxide. Their jets and limos are a small price to pay for the invaluable moral hectoring they give to the hoi polloi, in their billions. Davos people see the common man as the real problem.
As far as I’m concerned, climate change has been around for about four billion years. And the biggest driver of it, by far, is the sun. Not carbon dioxide. Without the sun, earth would be a ball frozen at about two degrees above absolute zero. Not counting the effects of cosmic rays, the planet’s changes in orbit and tilt, the solar system’s rotation around the galaxy, and a score of other critical factors. But these people don’t talk about that, because it has nothing to do with controlling the masses.
Justin: Doug, the elite who attend the WEF meeting in Davos and conferences like it are also deeply concerned about the rise of nationalism and populism, and the threats they pose to globalism. Should the average person be concerned by this?
Doug: Populism – that’s really democracy. They’re both bad ideas, but not for the reasons the Davos crowd would say. The fact is that Brazil, Turkey, China, the U.S., the Philippines and other countries installed have elected populist leaders. Pretty similar to the ‘30s and ‘40s when the world was run by “strong men.” The ‘30s and ‘40s were not mellow times.
As for globalization – Davos is all about globalization. Which is the politicization of world trade, culture, and everything else. It’s about governments making trade treaties the size of the New York telephone book – which I guess doesn’t exist any more, but you get the idea. International trade – or any other kind – needs government regulation about as much as a fish needs a bicycle. No… that’s an inadequate image. About as much as a healthy human needs an affliction of cancer, syphillis, and toothache.
I’m all for buying the world a Coke and seeing it become a big, happy Kumbaya place. But that’s not what globalization actually means. In today’s context, it’s the politicization of trade. That’s not a good thing. But it’s exactly what the Davos people talk about, because they control what governments do.
You have to remember that the people who go to Davos, and meetings like it, are totally wired and hooked up with governments. And the people who run governments all expect to become centimillionaires by associating with the bigshot business types, and doing favors for them.
That’s really what Davos and the like are all about. These people are all welfare statists. They’re not necessarily socialists, insofar as they don’t want to see government nationalize industries. They understand how totally dysfunctional that is, and that there’s no way they would benefit from it. Strict socialism, defined as the State owning the means of production, is off the table.
They are, however, very happy to have welfare states, throwing some table scraps to the unwashed masses.
Again, they’re not socialists. They’re welfare statists. Completely opportunistic, and absolutely unprincipled. Despicable people, actually. Few are entrepreneurial, independent thinkers, or free-market oriented. The attendees are almost all managers, bureaucrats and politicians that thrive on stolen money – but not so much directly stolen, in the form of briefcases of cash. That’s quaint in today’s world. They steal indirectly, by making sure they benefit from state regulations, state favors, and the inflation of the currency. That’s not only much safer, but the money is bigger, and the way it’s rigged adds to their prestige.
I’m very unimpressed by Davos, Bilderberg, CFR, Concordia, Bohemian Grove, and their clones. And most unimpressed by these people, although I assure you they’re very impressed by themselves, and getting to hang out with each other.
Justin: Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us today, Doug.
Doug: No problem.
Justin’s note: Last night, Strategic Investor editor E.B. Tucker went on record with his next big prediction during a free investment summit. He explained how we’re looking at the growth of a new market – from $0 to potentially $400 billion in a matter of years. And three well-positioned stocks are expected to take the lion’s share of profits.
If you missed it, don’t worry. You can watch a free replay right here. But don’t delay, we’re taking this presentation down Sunday at midnight.
Do you think the “masters of the universe” created the very problems they’re trying to solve? Do they have the little guy’s best interests at heart? Send us your thoughts on today’s Conversations With Casey at [email protected].