Trump Joins World ‘Midas Tendency’ at Davos 2018

With that total absence of a sense of irony or self-awareness that has characterised its annual jamborees and ego-fests since 1971, 2500 of our self-styled global political and business elites are due to converge again in the rich fleshpots of Davos.

In an unconscious acknowledgement of its monumental impotence, the presiding World Economic Forum has chosen as the convocation’s theme for this year the mission of “creating a shared future in a fractured world” which might suggest a poor return, so far, from its long years of alpine ‘apres-ski’. Might it share some complicity in the ‘fracturing’ it laments?

Pray spare us Lord, if yet you can,
These yearly plagues of ‘Davos Man’;
Such ceaseless helicoptering in,
Of Makers of this Mess we’re in;
Replete with copious tears of sorrow
That, for the mass, it’s ‘jam tomorrow’;
While, for the well-heeled of our earth, it
Must be “since we know they’re worth it”!

Whose ‘World’ is it this rich man’s quorum
Labelled ‘WORLD’ Economic Forum?

From ‘Davos Time-Again?
© Ralph Windle 2018

As ever, there will be a relative paucity of women among the abundancy of super-rich men, with our own serially over-paid Martin Sorrell no doubt keeping his inflated end up in the hospitality cocktail bars – though this year he may well feel slightly pauperish in the presence, not only of the world’s 2nd (Bill Gates – $92bn) and 4th (Mark Zuckerberg – $77bn) richest men; but also that pre-eminent (though as yet unaudited) Midas extraordinaire and self-affirmed Genius, President Donald Trump. It is said that Mrs May, as fervent though temporary custodian of the other half of the ‘special relationship’ will be briefly there to greet her wheeler-dealer friend.

On the bitter realities of the Davos thematic ‘fractured world’ it seems unlikely that the defeated US presidential candidate and Independent senator for Vermont, Bernie Sanders, will have been invited to the shenanigans; though he happens to have contributed a recent succinct analysis of the ‘fracture’, pin-pointing some irrefutable truths which would no doubt have registered as fake news in the presidential ear. (Guardian 15 January). Their authenticity is beyond question. He writes:

Difficult as it is to comprehend, the fact is that the six richest people on Earth now own more wealth than the bottom half of world’s population – 3.7 billion people. Further, the top 1% have more money than the bottom 99%…nearly one in seven people struggle to survive on less than $1.25 (90p) a day and some 29,000 children die daily from entirely preventable causes such as diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia…”

It will be good to have the Davos prescriptions for ‘creating a shared future’ in this most definitely ‘fractured world’, but I and many others are not holding our breaths.

Grant, if you will, these lesser-fry
Who pay the bills to question why?
To have in mind when next they’re voting,
This nauseous cosying and doting;
Where spineless politicians greet
Their self-styled corporate elite;
Pre-groomed for peak-time camera focus,
On clouds of PR hocus-pocus.


The Midas myth – by which the King of Ancient Phrygia was granted the god-given boon of having everything he touched turn to gold – serves as an early parable of the contemporary neoliberal church, in its elevation of money to the prime measure of worth and choice. Davos is an unconscious altar to its decadent myth, and remains arrogantly ignorant of Midas’ eventual fate, when all his riches turned to ash, bringing the threat of starvation and the gilding of a much-loved daughter. He successfully petitioned Dionysus to let him abrogate this curse. We should pray that there is some copy of Greek myths and history on the Davos bookshelves as our contemporary worshippers of money and markets approach their inevitable come-uppance – but I doubt it !

Above all, may it be Thy wish
To raise, above their gibberish,
Those richer voices, hushed of late,
Who’d like their World back, and its fate;
So all our kids may go to bed
Well – fed with, ringing in their head,
Stories of how a Wise God winked,
Pronouncing Davos Man extinct!

From ‘Davos Time-Again?
© Ralph Windle 2018

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