Does Davos Actually Do Anything?

January 26, 2015 1:25 PM

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A surge of private jets—roughly 1,700—converged on Switzerland’s airports this week. The Swiss Armed Forces even had to open up a military base to accommodate the air traffic jam. That’s because, as is tradition, the global elite have gathered together at the World Economic Forum to tackle the big global economic, political, and social issues—as far away from the rest of society as possible. Business juggernauts, prime ministers and presidents, academics, and entertainers are cloistered away in Davos, Switzerland, a small ski-town nestled in a valley in the Alps.

The forum, also informally called Davos, after the host city, is a many-headed monster. It’s the flagship meeting of the non-profit of the same name, created by Klaus Schwab in 1971. In that time, it has ballooned from a few hundred attendees to nearly 3,000. The media has called the conference a “S...

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