Is the World Economic Forum obsolete?

After a two-year break due to Covid, the World Economic Forum (WEF) is once again convening in Davos. But the globalised Alpine idyll is no longer what it once was: China's presence is minimal because of the Covid-19 crisis there and Russia has been excluded because of its war against Ukraine. Reality has caught up with global peace and global trade, commentators observe.

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Handelsblatt (DE) /

The carefree days are over

This year there is much to discuss, Handelsblatt explains:

“For example, the question of how internationally active companies can manoeuvre their way through the geopolitical pitfalls of military conflicts, fragile states and interrupted supply chains. There's a lot of talk about a new cold war. But hardly any companies are actually prepared for it when lines have once again been drawn around political spheres of influence. ... The World Economic Forum sees the meeting in Davos as a 'historic turning point'. It is clear that business leaders and politicians are at a crossroads. Where they are heading, however, is unclear. The way back to the relatively carefree times after the fall of the Berlin Wall has been blocked for the time being.”

SonntagsZeitung (CH) /

A shadow of its former self

With the absence of the dubious participants from Russia and China the WEF has lost much of its status as a global summit, writes the SonntagsZeitung:

“The 'Davos Men' have become so powerful and elitist in recent years that they didn't notice that they were celebrating their lavish parties in Davos together with countless dictators who only wanted one thing: to consolidate their power with the help of the global economic elite. ... Putin has shown his true character in the war with Ukraine, and at the same time Xi Jinping is ruining the Chinese economy with his nonsensical zero-Covid policy. ... The WEF in Davos will also be among the losers - and perhaps go down along with the 'Davos Men'.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Deglobalisation ist the future

Columnist Rana Foroohar explains in the Financial Times why advocates of globalisation are on the defensive politically and economically:

“The conversation will revolve around deglobalisation and its discontents. ... Yes, our most recent round of globalisation produced more wealth than the world has ever known. Unfortunately, as the economist Dani Rodrik has pointed out, for every 1 of efficiency gain from trade, there is typically 50 worth of redistribution towards the rich. The economic and political consequences of that are the key reason that we are now in a period of deglobalisation.”