Fixing the world's problems is on the agenda at this week's World Economic Forum in Davos. That and high-altitude hobnobbing.
In Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post column before leaving to attend the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland she writes:
Humanity is at a cross-roads," Klaus Schwab, the Forum's founder, plans to say in his open remarks. "We can either continue to work as lobbyists for our narrowly defined self-interests and keep doing the same old things that got us into the crisis in the first place," or we can "act together as true global leaders, with the long term global public interest in mind and at heart."
It's telling that a survey of Davos participants found that growing economic disparity is seen as one of the two biggest risks facing the world in the coming decade. In a piece previewing Davos, James Ledbetter, the editor of Reuters.com, describes the growing gulf between the world's rich and poor as "not only immoral, but dangerous, as it can lead to open conflict between nations and internal political turmoil.\n
Leaders at the Davos Forum, which starts tomorrow, are welcoming social entrepreneurs from all over the world, saying they need new solutions and perspectives.
This is familiar talk, of course. The mission of the 2009 World Economic Forum was to "develop effective solutions to the current economic crisis." The 2010 World Economic Forum was about addressing "economic imbalances that are at the root of the problem." Have we accomplished those goals already?
This isn't to say that Davos isn't at all helpful. It may well be. And many of the attendees are certainly well-intentioned. But it sometimes feels like the apparent soul-searching is just dressing for what is essentially a networking event for people who are already extremely well connected.