Viewing Ukraine Through the Davos Lens

I’m sure everyone’s a bit Davos’d out, but as I read the WEF and Ukraine news this week, I couldn’t help but connect the WEF ideology to Europe’s self-immolation. It’s also interesting to contrast WEF ideas for societal organization to those laid out in today’s piece from Linda M. Nicholas and Gary M. Feinman who argue what made the ancient city Monte Albán so long-lasting and broadly successful was its relative equality in lifestyle, its collective action, and localized economic production. 

A commonly asked question ever since NATO’s war against Russia in Ukraine really kicked off last February is why on earth would Europe go along with the American neocons in their policies that are driving Europe towards deindustrialization and a long-lasting energy crisis while the US reaps the rewards in LNG exports.? After all, these are some of the same countries that said no to Iraq and watched Washington bungle that job, as well as Afghanistan and its regime change efforts in Syria. From Wolfgang Streeck:

This makes it all the more amazing that European countries should, apparently without any debate, have so completely left the handling of Ukraine to the United States. In effect, this represents a principal turning the management of his vital interests over to an agent with a recent public record of incom­petence and irresponsibility.

Could European leaders not see that the Ukrainian proxy war plan was a shortsighted one that would decimate their economies? Politico reported the following last week:

At their final summit of 2022 in December, EU leaders insisted they had heard the call. The meeting produced an instruction to the European Commission to rapidly draw up proposals “with a view to mobilizing all relevant national and EU tools” to address the dual energy and competitiveness crises hitting European industry. The issue is due to dominate an EU leaders’ summit scheduled for February 9-10.

Did it truly take European leaders 10 months to come to grips with this fact? Or is it possible that they simply not care? Davos is a reminder of these leaders’ vision of the world, which is encapsulated by the WEF and its idea of a trans-national capitalist elite. National industry is an  outdated concept to them, and Russia represents an existential threat to their ideology of oligarchic rule. The WEF essentially acts as a capitalist and war consulting firm and a gigantic lobby. Diana Johnstone, former press secretary of the Green Group in the European Parliament, writes:

[The WEF] is powerful today because it is operating in an environment of State Capitalism, where the role of the State has been largely reduced to responding positively to the demands of such lobbies, especially the financial sector.  Immunized by campaign donations from the obscure wishes of ordinary people, most of today’s politicians practically need the guidance of lobbies such as the WEF to tell them what to do.

On top of such guidance, the WEF Young Global Leaders program helps spread this slime throughout the European halls of power. Here’s a list of those I could find who are currently in European government or other notable positions, and there are no doubt many more:

  • Alexander De Croo, prime minister of Belgium
  • Emmanuel Macron, president of France
  • Sanna Marin, the Finnish prime minister
  • Annika Saarikko, FInland minister of finance
  • Annalena Baerbock, German foreign minister
  • Amélie de Montchalin, French minister for the environmental transition and territorial cohesion
  • Tomas Pojar, Czech foreign minister
  • Virginijus Sinkevičius, European commissioner for the environment
  • Eva Maydell, member of the European Parliament from Belgium; her big priority is pushing a digital single market
  • Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach
  • Lea Wermelin, Danish Minister for the Environment
  • Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was only nominated for a WEF global leader of tomorrow spot, but he’s been trying to prove his worth ever since.
  • Chrystia Freeland, she’s deputy prime minister of Canada, but included here because of her synergy with Victoria Nuland and her fascist goals abroad, especially in Ukraine
  • Kalin Anev Janse is the Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Management Board of the European Stability Mechanism, which works to force austerity and privatization onto eurozone countries.
  • Klaus Regling, who was head of the European Stability Mechanism from its inception in 2012 until last year.
  • Dr. Katarzyna Pisarska, the Founder and Director of the Visegrad School of Political Studies, which brings together young politicians, civil society activists, journalists and civil servants from the countries of the Visegrád Group. You might know the Visegrad Group from its Twitter account Visegrad24 that celebrates certain elements of Ukraine’s military:

And there are hundreds more young global leaders in finance, NGOs, media, academia, and lower levels of government, almost all of them working hand in glove to realize their common beliefs that are generally neoliberal, corporatist, undemocratic, and exhibit a disdain for the working class. Do these “global leaders” really care if what’s left of their countries’ industry needs to be relocated to the US or elsewhere? After all, to them national sovereignty is outdated. As Thomas Fazi writes at Unherd:

Samuel Huntington, who is credited with inventing the term “Davos man”, argued that members of this global elite “have little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations”.

The “Davos man” also believes that the working class will soon be replaced by Artificial Intelligence. He has been outsourcing jobs for years, and thinks further deindustrialization will help the green transition. Johnstone describes how the WEF-influenced Greens in Germany want to remake the country’s industry:

The Greens have not forgotten the environment, and see “climate neutrality” as the “great opportunity for Germany as an industrial location.” The development of “climate protection technologies” should “provide impetus for new investments.” Their program calls for creation of a “digital euro,” secure mobile “digital identities” and “digital administrative services.”

Indeed, the Green economic program sounds very much like the Great Reset advocated by the World Economic Forum at Davos, with a new economy centered on climate change, artificial intelligence and digitalization of everything.

Here is Young Global Leader and current German foreign minister from the Green Party Annalena Baebock explaining why she doesn’t listen to Germans’ concerns over job losses or freezing to death:

Vladimir Putin was also a WEF Young Global Leader. Here’s Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the WEF and man with the plan to discard rule by the people in favor of rule by corporate interests, bragging that Putin was a member of his Young Global Leaders program:

They don’t advertise that so much anymore, as Putin became a traitor to the WEF cause. Russia was a major topic of discussion at this year’s Davos gathering, which was themed “cooperation in a fragmented world,” by which they mean the world is now fragmented due to Russia and China’s refusal to bend the knee. Both Moscow and Beijing represent an existential threat to the WEF ideology because as Michael Hudson has explained time and again, the true battle being waged is between financial oligarchy on behalf of the Davos crowd and a mixed public-private economy in places like Russia, China, and elsewhere in the global south.

The fragmentation of western societies was not on the agenda, but European polls clearly show a break.

In the EU Key Challenges of Our Times autumn poll, 70 percent of working class respondents believe the war in Ukraine has had serious financial consequences for them personally; only 49 percent of upper class respondents believe the same. Forty-five percent of working class respondents are satisfied with the EU involvement in Ukraine; 71 percent of the upper class is.

These numbers are remarkable when considering the unprecedented propaganda campaign in Europe. As Wolfgang Streeck puts it in New Left Review, in Germany any questioning of the war is silenced even as the threat of nuclear annihilation grows:

Those disposed to undertake a close reading of the public pronouncements of the governing coalition of the willing can recognize traces of debates going on behind the scenes, over how best to prevent the Great Unwashed getting in the way of what may be coming to them. On 21 September, one of the chief editors of FAZ, Berthold Kohler, a hardliner if there ever was one, noted that even among Western governments ‘the unthinkable is no longer considered impossible’. Rather than allowing themselves to be blackmailed, however, Western ‘statesmen’ have to muster ‘more courage… if the Ukrainians insist on liberating their entire country’, an insistence that we have no right to argue with. Any ‘arrangement with Russia at the expense of the Ukrainians’ would amount to ‘appeasement’ and ‘betray the West’s values and interests’, the two happily converging. To reassure those of his readers who would nevertheless rather live for their families than die for Sevastopol – and who had hitherto been told that the entity called ‘Putin’ is a genocidal madman entirely impervious to rational argument – Kohler reports that in Moscow there is sufficient fear of ‘the nuclear Armageddon in which Russia and its leaders would burn as well’ for the West to support to the hilt the Zelensky view of the Ukrainian national interest.

The peoples’ lack of support to “die for Sevastopol” is similar to their unwillingness to go along with plans to destroy their lives and enslave them to a techno-capitalist system of exploitation, which is perhaps why plans like this are being floated:

European polls show major divergence on labor issues, such as 52 percent of the working class rating fair working conditions as the most important to the EU’s social and economic development. Only 30 percent of the upper class feels the same way. And 66 percent of the EU working class feel their quality of life is getting worse; only 38 percent of the upper class feel the same way.

One need look no further for fragmentation between the WEF elite and working stiffs than Young Global Leader and French President Emmanuel Macron who is treated like royalty in Davos while back in France he’s faced nearly four years of gilets jaunes protests against his austerity and neoliberal policies, and some French can’t bear the sight of him:

And another:

They rolled out Henry Kissinger at Davos so he could tell the .001 percent they’ve been right all along about Ukraine, and they should now double down by rushing the country into NATO. The 99-year-old apparently wants to add to his 3-4 million body count before he kicks the bucket. As Spencer Ackerman writes:

The elite of the World Economic Forum consult one of the architects of today’s world to guide them out of the polycrisis he played a role in creating. And he inevitably reinforces the convictions of this same class, who most benefit from the way the world currently is, that they and they alone hold the keys to responsibly guiding the world out of the polycrisis. And if they further extract wealth from the wreckage of a polycrisis-wracked world, who’s to say there’s anything wrong with that? Certainly no one at Davos.

Even if these like-minded leaders lay waste to Europe, they probably think they can follow in the path of one of the WEF Young Leader trailblazers: former British Prime Minister and war criminal Tony Blair. After he left government he began “operating a dizzying, and often overlapping, web of charities, firms, and foundations that have catapulted him to the status of one of Britain’s wealthiest people.”

He travels around giving interviews warning against the dangers of populism and free public services – a task that is no doubt more difficult with Jeffrey Epstein’s “Lolita Express” no longer offering him free rides.

The problem is that before these people can cash in à la Blair, they just might get us all killed first. As Patrick Lawrence wrote at Consortium News after Angela Merkel’s (another WEF Global Leader for Tomorrow) revelations that the Minsk Accords were simply a ruse intended to buy time for Ukraine to prepare for war:

A measure of trust was essential between Washington and Moscow even during the Cold War’s most perilous passages. The Cuban Missile Crisis was resolved as it was because U.S. President John F. Kennedy and the Soviet premier, Nikita Khrushchev, were able sufficiently to trust one another. This trust no longer exists, as Putin and other Russian officials have made clear in responding to publication of the two German interviews.

Moscow and Beijing have said repeatedly since Joe Biden assumed office not quite two years ago that there is no trusting the Americans. The follow-on thought is that there is no point negotiating with them in a diplomatic context. For various Russian officials, from Putin on over and down, Merkel’s revelations seem grimly to have confirmed these conclusions.

It is a major turn that Moscow now includes the Europeans, and especially the Germans, in this assessment. Germany now tells the lies of which the American empire is made — a matter of anxiety and sadness all at once. If scorched-earth diplomacy is a fitting name for what the West has been up to in its dealings with Russia since 2014, as I think it is, the German bridge between West and East has been burnt.

The gravity of these conclusions, the implications as we face forward, are immense for the West and non–West alike. A world replete with hostilities is one we all know. A world devoid of trust and talking will prove another matter.

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  1. Ignacio

    Hi Conor, if your intention with this post was to create some rage against the Davos craziness & idiocy, in my case you did it pretty well to the point I skipped a couple of paragraphs in rage.

    1. Conor Gallagher Post author

      Sorry Ignacio. That wasn’t main intention. Just trying to make sense of why European leaders would embrace WEF policies to the degree they sacrifice their countries

      1. Jams O'Donnell

        I imagine the traditional carpetbag of dollars has a lot to do with it – as has openly admitted by a US source (sorry, don’t have this any more, but I imagine a search will find it).

      2. Matthew

        What’s the rationale for this? Why would Russia represent a threat to oligarchy? It is an oligarchy.

        “Russia represents an existential threat to their ideology of oligarchic”

        1. ambrit

          I think that “international” oligarchy is the more accurate term. Putin opposed and somewhat reversed the initial ‘looting’ of post Soviet Russia by the “Chicago Boys.” Putin is essentially a Russian patriot. To the extent that he, really Russia, prioritizes Russian domestic concerns above Internationalist goals is the key point of friction.

        2. BlakeFelix

          I think they installed Putin thinking he would set up an oligarchy and screw Russia on their behalf, but after he set up his oligarchy he screwed them instead at least somewhat, mostly on his own behalf but it resulted in Russia being enough less screwed that he became very popular. And now he’s like a super Sadaam Hussain, once their creature but he doesn’t obey like they feel he should. Oligarchs are in fact one of the few things that pose a threat to Oligarchs IMO. Little honor amongst thieves.

          Edited to add: Jinx

      3. spud

        great article, so so important. i have said for many many years when people lament whats happened to america, and they almost always say why can’t we just go back to taxing and regulating.

        my response is you can’t. under free trade economics that boat left in 1993. the legal and economic infrastructure we have today, is a direct results of the policies of bill clinton, tony blair and others.

        really bill clinton created davos man. its rule by corporations, fascism.

        so if we are to go back to democrat control, that is tax and regulate, to ignore the creators of these policies and ignore the policies themselves that many do. they have chosen barbarism over civil society.

        the french have not figured this out yet, after four years, that giant 900 pound pink gorilla standing in the room right next to them, its called free trade and the europeon union.

        if they manage to get rid of the freak, another is waiting in the wings, financed by oligarchs from all over the world. if that another turns out to be not as forceful as macron, color revolutions and out right coups are simply all part of the plan.

        you can free trade or have a civil society, but you cannot have both.

        the article on the city state and the importance of local production fits right into this discussion also.

      4. Geoff

        Hi Conor,
        Please don’t forget Jacinda Ardern as WEF Young Leader. Fauned over by the NYT, Stephen Colbert, world media in general. Harvard commencement speaker. Worked in Tony Blair’s office before entering NZ Parliament. She will be brought back into a more international slot in a couple of years. Just the “package” so useful to deliver the authoritarianism product. Cheers from NZ

  2. John R Moffett

    I wonder how long the Davos crowd can keep a lid on the public anger. They are doing a good job of mis-directing anger via their news (propaganda) outlets, but it seems to be slowly sinking in with many working people that they are being played. I suppose the Davos crowd is looking at Ukraine and China as new “Pearl Harbor events” to keep the rabble at bay, but it may not work as well in parts of the EU as it always seems to in the US. What their end game is worries me the most. They must have a particular disaster in mind, but I have a feeling that it isn’t Taiwan. That would be beyond the scope of a “Pearl Harbor event”. So maybe it is in Ukraine. Let’s hope they aren’t all as stupid as they appear.

    1. Louis Fyne

      —how long the Davos crowd can keep a lid on the public anger.—

      as long as the bread and circuses flow—(relatively) cheap food + social media dopamine (and/or alcohol, marijuana and the harder drugs).

      Organized labor leadership has been cucked by neoliberal-types.

      ~30 years ago the UK erupted when Margaret Thatcher wanted to raise a poll tax. The latest round of UK inflation has hit the bottom 80% harder than any hypothetical Thatcher poll tax, yet the English are stewing in silence. While Scottish “outrage” is directed at Westminster of a social home-rule issue.

      What a bizarre time. I laughed when various people (Orlov of “club orlov”, adam curtis) opined that the West was suffering the same end-stage death pangs as 1980’s USSR. Not any more.

      1. Susan the other

        In 1990 I thought that the USSR folded because they could see the West was operating on fumes. They didn’t expect to us to toss everything straight into the wind, but that is exactly what we did like it was our last chance to win the world “for democracy”. George Bush 1 could hardly contain his excitement. What a lunatic. Russia and their federation are still hanging together but we are coming apart at the seams and we are frantic to keep neoliberalism going. Even though it has nowhere left to go. It’s not that we have not accomplished some good things, it’s more like we inevitably screw it up. We have no functioning social contract between capital and labor which kept neoliberalism alive. No social contract for basic entitlements. We think we can roll finance out like a red carpet and live on debt servicing without constructive social industrial policy, let alone sustainability. It’s too bad Davos doesn’t propose a new social contract. That’s a better start than some scheme for financial equity which is designed to trickle up. That’s the problem now. The rock and hard place for neoliberalism is that it doesn’t have a way to give back to nature. It is all exploitation. And it’s a recipe for extinction.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          “In 1990 I thought that the USSR folded because they could see the West was operating on fumes.”

          Huh? We folded because we thought the West was going to fold first otherwise?

      2. digi_owl

        Yeah, the free market right “everyone is an island” message has finally come home to roost…

      3. c_heale

        The current wave of strikes in the UK (the biggest since the 80’s Miner’s Strike imo), would indicate to me, the British are not stewing in silence.

        And some of the Brexit vote was a big Fck You to the Davos crowd.

    2. dandyandy

      As long as they control the public narrative and MSM.

      And as long as the current constellation of media owners peddle their anti-normal-people messages, or for as long as they maintain their propensity to not object too much when “men in black” visit them to give them their messages, the narrative will remain so.

      The hypnotist c***nts at BBC and CNN and suchlike will continue to draw their 6-7-8 figure salaries for confusing the taxpayers with their mind numbing dross and instead of asking who is responsible that I have no heating this winter they remain consumed in the vital diatribe whether the cretin prince should be crowned a king, or in the alternative, drawn and quartered.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I think you’re right. And it’s not Protestants vs. Catholics or even Christians vs. Muslims. The line of division is over who humans really are and will be. There are those who see humanity as grounded in the reality of being creatures evolved on this planet just like the rest of the animals. Their prescription for the future is that we must quickly learn how to fit in with the planet and its other creatures. Then there are the transhumanists whose vision of mankind includes godlike activities like geoforming planets (as we’re currently geoforming our own, much to our disadvantage), scattering ourselves around the galaxy, living forever, etc. Their response to the damage we’ve done to the planet is to double down, not back off.

      As we move into the conflict, it continues to strike me just how perspicacious the ancient Ezra School was as it adopted or created an old story about a man, a woman and a snake:

      [Y]ou will be like God, knowing good and evil.

      And Joni Mitchell’s prescription for what ailed us going back more than 50 years:

      We are stardust (billions year old carbon).
      We are golden (just got caught up in some devil’s bargain).
      And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

      “Woodstock” (video)

      1. C.O.

        There is an uncanny resemblance between the WEF ravings and expectations and the “interim years” between the real world present and the fictional future of Star Trek. I read one of the tie in novels where the author spent an appalling number of pages talking about what a good thing it was after all that a nuclear war slaughtered most humans on the planet so that it could be a greener, “less crowded” place.

  3. .human

    [The WEF] is powerful today because it is operating in an environment of State Capitalism, where the role of the State has been largely reduced to responding positively to the demands of such lobbies…

    I seem to recall that there is a word to describe a system with this relationship…

    1. Michaelmas

      Fascism? Whether there can even be such a thing as supra-national fascism is an interesting definitional question.

      Absolutely not, the Davos people would probably say.

      Whatever tag one gives it, (1) it does look like supra-national fascism might look and (2) I can’t think of any prior historical analogue. Comparisons of the EU to the medieval Hanseatic League seem particularly inapt.

      1. Polar Socialist

        It’s my understanding the “northern crusades” were, besides expanding the western Christendom, also a means for the Hanseatic League to force Novgorod back and capture the lucrative trade of the northern Baltic.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          That seems rather unlikely, considering that the Hanseatic League formed 150 years after the Northern Crusades (and counted Novgorod as a trading partner).

      2. digi_owl

        Nah, fascism is a command economy.

        Yes, they will leave the property system in place, on paper. But if a factory owner etc fail to follow a political dictate they will have their property confiscated in no time.

        There is another term, one that one seldom see used today, Plutocracy. That is the kind of rule one see made fun of in old Punch cartoons from the robber baron era etc.

        But plutocracy can easily tip into fascism, depending how careless and/or scared the plutocrats become.

        1. Acacia

          Around the time that Bonfire of the Vanities was published in the late 1980s, I read an interview with Tom Wolfe in which he was asked where he thought the US was headed, after his 1976 essay “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening”.

          His answer was: plutonomy.

  4. The Rev Kev

    Excellent post, Conor. I am actually getting optimistic about Davos lately. And this was when I understood that three of the most important economic powers in the world – China, Russia & India – did not even bother to turn up. The NATO-Russia war has now let everybody see that we now live in a multipolar world. But there is more to it than that. You have the west and its economic power and the Russia/China block that is attracting more and more countries like Iran, India and maybe soon Saudi Arabia. The point here is that the west has an economy base on financialization and does not make that much stuff anymore. The other block have economies that are based on commodities and actual industrial manufacturing. And the later, because they have access to energy, can always expand their economies. The west on the other hand appears to be slowly contracting no matter how much paper they throw at this fact. And the rest of the developing world? They see that they have some sort of future with the later block but all the west promises is exploitation and impoverishment which is why they are sitting this war out and are not jumping on the western bandwagon. And here is where we get to the meat. The WEF and Davos are all about the western block and less and less people are impressed with them anymore. Too many people know what their agendas are all about so if Russia wins this war, Davos may become mostly irrelevant.

    1. Conor Gallagher Post author

      I think China and India had a limited presence, but they may rethink that next year as IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said she wanted to lock the US, China, India and EU in a room and “let them out after they sign in blood a commitment to work together to save the planet.”

  5. Stephen

    Great article. We have an elite that is totally out of touch with and does not even care about the needs of so called ordinary people.

    Right now though I am out of the corporate world so can ignore Davos and do not get its messages inflicted on me involuntarily at work. However, in the past I had colleagues who went there and I used to get long emails from them and the CEO telling me how our delegation was contributing to making the world a much better place. I never quite understood the attraction of the whole thing though other than as an ego trip, which it has become for many members of the PMC, and also a sales opportunity.

    Makes me almost nostalgic for pre 1990s culture. I accidentally recently watched part of a video of the UK comedy (allegedly) “On The Buses” from 1970 or so. Apart from the incredibly smutty humour (I use the term loosely) by modern standards it is incredible that in those days sympathetic comedies and films were regularly written about working class people, in this case bus drivers. Managerial elites were laughed at and the ethos of popular culture was actually “populist”. This is rather than today when so called popular culture (but pushed by elites) is designed to tell us how bad we all are. It reflects very much the imprint of Davos and the elitism associated with the WEF. Class and economic inequality are unwelcome intrusions on their bubble.

    As an aside, I guess readers saw the Covid precautions at Davos. I was intrigued by a statement that drivers would all wear masks without fail but delegates did not have to. Sums up the whole thing.

    1. Rolf

      is incredible that in those days sympathetic comedies and films were regularly written about working class people, in this case bus drivers.

      Your comment brought to mind the comic struggles of bus driver Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason), in “The Honeymooners”, from 1950’s television.

      1. LifelongLib

        My grandfather was a big fan of The Honeymooners. I remember liking Kramden’s friend better though (IIRC Ed Norton, a sewer worker, played by Art Carney).

      2. annie

        ‘paterson’ by jim jarmusch–exceptional more recent movie about a new jersey bus driver (2016).

    2. Old Sovietologist

      Kill and die for a cashless society!

      You’ll notice that the video is in English. This was very much made to get certain neoliberal audiences horny with absolutely no regard for reality as usual. Good luck trying to power this entire utopia with the rolling blackouts.

      The video plays out like one of those fake advertisements used in a movie to tout what is actually a dystopian society.

      1. barefoot charley

        Thanks, that’s a wowser worth suffering through. Fantasy qualities of bezzles and apps have made Ukraine in 2030 the greatest! It’s right there in the video: “Ukraine is the freest and digital.” What else is there? (er, besides the Iron Dome, which really really works!)

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i suppose that i am a deplorable hill person for finding just about all of that pretty creepy and non=ideal?
        and putting aside the utter fantasy unicorn ranching aspects of it(ie: aint gonna happen).
        but i hate doing shit on my fone, hate being surveilled, am averse to permitting and other permission-seeking, and generally do not want to be plugged in to their weird hybrid of 1984/brave new world/logan’s run/gattica dystopia.
        and did you see the folks happily glued to their fondleslabs in that definitely not=ukranian parklike techcampus setting?
        all socially distanced, and likely unaware of each other…docile and smiling weirdly blissfully….
        no thank you.

      3. Kouros

        That add will not age well. We should revisit it in 7 years from now, and compare the reality with the add… starting with Ukraine’s map…

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Nice catch: JFK Lite living the high life and chilling out with the cool crowd at Davos. Thank you for posting this: it’s only 37 seconds long and well worth watching as a reminder of how arrogant and self-entitled this guy is. At the 22 second mark, he says “extraterristical” or something similar; can anyone translate this word for me? At least when Bush the Lesser said “nukeyuler” we knew what he meant. BTW, JFK Lite has no Irish roots whatsoever, despite his surname. Here is a fun summary from 2004 that really nails him down nicely:

      1. digi_owl

        Guy seems to have that old person speech issue where words jumble.

        He likely meant to say extraordinary, but ended up saying extraterrestrial. A word normally used for something visiting from beyond earth itself.

        I guess the conspiracy people are having a field day with that, claiming he just confirmed that USA is run by reptilan aliens from Alpha Centauri or some such.

        1. ambrit

          A Terran Human Public Service Announcement: Your reptilian overlords hail from Zeta Reticuli. (The meme that the reptilian overlords are highly evolved Terran Dinosaurs is a false narrative promulgated by the ‘unfortunate’ heretics of the Silurian Hypothesis dispensation. Pity them.)

  6. GM

    The worst part about all this is that we do have an existential problem with climate and sustainability, and these idiots have made concern about it a toxic subject for most of the population with their short-sighted grifting off it and refusal to even contemplate any wealth redistribution, without which it is impossible to address those problems.

    It is entirely understandable that the common man, who has never been taught any of the relevant science (not that the superbright geniuses of the Sanna Marin, Annalena Baerbock, Eva Maydell, etc. ilk have any clue), thinks it is all a scam and a grift scheme…

    1. Thuto

      Yep, I said the same thing in a comment the other day about the grifters, they’re hard at work here in South Africa trying to facilitate a complete takeover of the energy grid under the guise of climate mitigation. They’re even campaigning for one of their paid influencers to be appointed energy minister. This is increasingly putting off the public from any talk about climate change because however much the unholy alliance between the grifters and their stenographers in the media tries to dress the whole thing up as an opportunity for SA to be at the vanguard of climate mitigation, the naked self interest driving the grift seeps through the facade. The public have had enough and the gag reflex from having what feels like an agenda being constantly shoved down their throats is taking over, and as you say, without the grasp of the science, this negative sentiment is only going to get worse.

    2. GramSci

      So long as they are given bread and circuses (see Louis Fyne’s comment above), common Amerikuns, like the Good Germans of yore, will be the last to allow “income redistribution”.

      The banality of empire.

      1. digi_owl

        In modern terms, cheap gasoline and “reality” TV (or maybe MMA if you are blood sport inclined)…

  7. KLG

    Great work, Conor! To begin at the beginning: “…what made the ancient city Monte Albán so long-lasting and broadly successful was its relative equality in lifestyle, its collective action, and localized economic production.

    This is precisely what Davos Man and Woman do not understand. Nor will they until the truth of this slaps them down and the world they have wrought will not support their private jet set way of life. I was honored to hear in person Wendell Berry’s first public presentation of The Idea of a Local Economy (shortened version of the essay from Orion). That was more than 22 years ago. Still true and still our only intelligent response (there is no solution) to the many crises overtaking us.

    1. LifelongLib

      Dunno. There have been a number of posts/comments here on how many localities are run by a modern version of the strongman e.g. one or a few wealthy families. It doesn’t seem like localism is any guarantee of democracy.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        but in such smaller polities, its easy to identify those would be lords of the manor.
        its a recurrent theme in my field reports from this small far place.
        the problem is that its also easier for the would be strong man to keep an eye on everybody…and can be difficult to rally the serfs to the cause.
        but i’d rather know my local warlord/suzerain on sight…than have these abstracted to the max global “leaders”.
        how does one strangle Mr Exxon…let alone the Davos Set?
        like i’ve said…president of one of our 2 locally owned banks(there’s one retail chain bank, too)…knows full well that his house would burn if he managed the bank bidness in any way that even appeared shady.
        that’s a powerful check on behaviour.

      2. KLG

        No guarantee, and in my living memory there have been several such petty fiefdoms of which you speak in the region. But a local democracy is feasible. In a human community you can depend on someone to be undependable and make allowances. In this global community or our national community (which are category errors), nothing human is possible.

        In any case, our national “democracy” does not come close to anything like democracy.

        I’ll go with our friend Amfortas. The miscreants in the local community know who they are and we know they know who they are. And they know who we are. Which leaves hope for resolution at some point.

        Anyway, this reminds me that Uncles Karl and Friedrich did good with their little book of 1848, but their comment about the “idiocy of rural life” missed the mark as badly as the PMC misses the mark when they talk about skilled versus unskilled work. As someone who has done both, the only one I could have easily killed myself and others was what they would call “unskilled.” Most of my “skilled” PMC peeps would not last one 8-hour shift unloading a freight car and stacking the contents 30 feet high and have the 100-pound bags of soda ash remain in place. That took skill, which was taught to me by other skilled laborers.

  8. .Tom

    I read somewhere years ago, I think it came from some historian’s comparison of how empires end, that a common feature of the decline phase is that the ruling elite fails to address its material concerns and occupies itself with irrelevancies. In other words, the ruling elite collectively goes groupthink mad, distracting itself with its interests. In my recollection of this historian’s account, the subject matter of these distractions in various empires was given. I only recall that the example given for the Russian empire was occult esotericism.

    Can anyone point me to what I only vaguely remember here? I probably read about it on NC.

    I’m interested in the conception of what Yang calls Successor Ideology, David calls Radical Social Liberalism, and what I might call the Woke Cultural Revolution as a theology. I think that apart from all the individual contingent purposes it serves, it also serves as the great conversation ender, a near perfect distraction. I’m interested to think how it might fit in the end of the Western empire, what Putin has referred to as The Golden Billion.

      1. .Tom

        No it’s not. The best bit about that book is Diamond’s distinction between top down and bottom up responses to environmental threat.

    1. Rip Van Winkle

      How empires collapse –

      Podcast yesterday: ‘Gonzalo Lira / Alexander Mercouris / Clayton Morris’ – it’s Mercouris specifically at 44 minutes in.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      that sounds a lot like Arnold Toynbee’s life cycle of civilisation, from ‘a study of history’.
      creative minority save civ by figgering out a way to get over or around some crisis, and then runs out of ideas, rests on their laurels, and becomes merely a dominant minority…increasingly hated by all of their lessers….hanging on to power by mostly inertia and propaganda and mythopoesis(and force, especially towards the end)….ignorant that those laurel cushions are on fire,

  9. spc

    Patrick Lawrence attended Suffield Academy. Today it’s humble 71,000$ for boarder.
    Apparently, by the din of every dollar, one must qualify him as friend of working class. Genuine champion of dispossessed.

    1. Carolinian

      He’s a former news editor of the Herald Tribune and his beat is foreign policy. What’s your point?

  10. Carolinian

    Re Young Global Leaders I saw an article that claimed that Boluarte in Peru was “probably” one along with other Latin American politicians. She is 60 and the YGLs are supposed to be 38 or under so she doesn’t make this list which only goes back to 2006 and is the only list I could find..

    It’s an interesting list though. Gabbard is indeed on it along with a ton of other prominent people–many of whom are not politicians.

  11. Chris Cosmos

    Those of us in the dissident virtual community have understood what WEF was about from the beginning. We should be addressing the obvious: what motivates “leaders” to embrace the policies of this group? My view is that people of all classes require a coherent mythological framework in which to view the world and, for the elites, they have found it in promoting an actual Holy Roman Empire based in Washington. They have embraced a world government that will provide stability to the leadership class and meaning for the people, at this time this means developing strong Orwellian enemies (the Russians and Chinese are not threat to anyone and all sides would, as a practical matter, benefit from cooperation and diplomacy). In addition to resurrecting images of WWII, i.e., a mad dictator seeking world conquest (Hitler, Napoleon, Stalin), armies marching, a heroic people defending their “free” country, all contribute to provide populations with meaning as the PNAC manifesto advised. In additions, they’ve captured the whole climate change issue as an excuse to impose central authority.

    This leadership class knows that it must impose order and meaning at the same time and those of us in the dissident community need to explore alternative frameworks in which we can operate other than simply opposing the WEF and the Empire of which it is a key part.

    1. Alan Roxdale

      What motivates “leaders” to embrace the policies of this group?

      I think the obvious answer is that it’s the cheapest, most efficient way to rise-up at international “court”, gain position and use it to extract fantastic wealth. Essentially the modern version of old aristocratic courts. Why waste all your time becoming a professional or expert or building a business when you can do, whatever Davos man does, and get ahead by being pals and chums with other corrupt groups.
      I’m skeptical that Davos man has an ideology worth printing, no more than courtiers had 2-500 years ago.

  12. Michael Hudson

    I think of Davos as a venue for deal-making.
    Its character is selected in the identities of who is there to make the deals.
    In times past, there were many economic deals being made — especially when the Russians were there. Now there are only the Chinese outside of the West. So there are fewer global trade and financial deals to be made.
    That leaves mainly Political deals. That’s why so many politicians are there — to create policy alliances.
    If you look at who is there — and who is NOT there — you get an idea of just what kind of deals are being made.
    It doesn’t look like these are going to be very nice deals for the world.

    1. Dan Berg

      The head of Morgan Stanley called it an echo chamber where everyone repeats whatever the last person said to them.

  13. michael hudson

    The speeches are just a wrapping for the more important function of Davos as a venue for deal-making.
    Its character is selected in the identities of who is there to make the deals.
    In times past, there were many economic deals being made — especially when the Russians were there. Now there are only the Chinese outside of the West. So there are fewer global trade and financial deals to be made.
    That leaves mainly Political deals. That’s why so many politicians are there — to create policy alliances.
    If you look at who is there — and who is NOT there — you get an idea of just what kind of deals are being made.
    It doesn’t look like these are going to be very nice deals for the world.

    1. Stephen

      Former corporate colleagues who went there clearly enjoyed the whole “status” side of it; being near the rich and famous is always a draw!

      But you are totally right. The reason my previous firm pays very serious sponsorship bucks (I think they use a different, more sanitised term) and rents a venue there is in order to meet clients, sell and do deals.

      My understanding is that the WEF’s activities that go way beyond Davos are heavily funded through these types of sponsorships. Ultimately, it is all very commercial. But everyone can talk about saving the planet, which makes them feel good about themselves at the same time.

  14. Chris Smith

    This line got me:

    French President Emmanuel Macron who is treated like royalty in Davos, while back in France he’s faced nearly four years of gilets jaunes protests against his austerity and neoliberal policies, and some French can’t bear the sight of him

    Of course the people voted to put him back in office anyway “because LePen so awful.” Same tactic the Democrats here in the US use. If the people at some point have to stop allowing this game to be played.

    1. digi_owl

      That said, didn’t the recent parliamentary election swing leftward?

      And the french presidential election is a bit of an odd duck, as they have two rounds where on the second they only get to pick between the two that got the most votes in the first round. Thus anyone that didn’t get their pick from the first round is liable to pinch their nose and vote for whoever stinks the least in their view.

      The ongoing problem is that the political left keeps getting distracted by minority social causes (almost like there are agent provocateurs going around) rather than maintain laser focus on economic issues. This then allows the populist/extremist right to take that cause and ride it for all it is worth.

  15. BillS

    Excellent Sunday post Conor!

    Maybe I’m wrong, but the WEF always seemed to me to be the vanity project of Der Schwabenklaus. It really is too bad that Mr Kinzhal did not make a surprise visit to Davos. **evil grin**

  16. hk

    Probably an unpopular proposition: I think this is why “degrowth” is such a dangerous proposition. In the aggregate and in abstract, “degrowth” might be a good idea, but, in practice, it would invariably turn out to be the powerful “degrowthing” the weak using whatever moral justification that the abstract degrowth has as the excuse. This can never be a “fair” process, let alone the process where the powerful get “degrowthed” more than the weak. So you will, in almost every conceivable scenario, get degrowth by more bombs, exploitation, inequality, and deaths, and the more moral justification of degrowth one comes up with, the more justification the powerful has to immiserate the rest.

    1. Michaelmas

      Probably an unpopular proposition

      Not at all, as far as I’m concerned. It’s blindingly obvious just how “degrowth” will be imposed by the powerful by the weak.

      Isaac Asimov was in no way a sophisticated stylist, but he was an intelligent man and wrote a short story, ‘The Winnowing,’ that captures exactly the logic that would be wheeled into play —

      …”Do you fail to see that the Earth is a lifeboat? If the food store is divided equally among all, then all will die. If some are cast out of the lifeboat, the remainder will survive. The question is not whether some will die, for some must die; the question is whether some will live.”

      “Are you advocating triage-the sacrifice of some for the rest-officially?”

      “We can’t. The people in the lifeboat are armed. Several regions threaten openly to use nuclear weapons if more food is not forthcoming.”

      Rodman said sardonically, “You mean the answer to ‘you die that I may live’ is ‘If I die, you die.’…An impasse.”

      “Not quite,” said Affare. “There are places on Earth where the people cannot be saved. They have overweighted their land hopelessly with hordes of starving humanity. Suppose they are sent food, and suppose the food kills them so that the land requires no further shipments.”

      Rodman felt the first twinge of realization. “Kills them how?” he asked.

      “The average structural properties of the cellular membranes of a particular population can be worked out. An LP, particularly designed to take advantage of those properties, could be incorporated into the food supply, which would then be fatal,” said Affare.

      “Unthinkable,” said Rodman, astounded.

      “Think again. There would be no pain. The membranes would slowly close off and the affected person would fall asleep and not wake up-an infinitely better death than that of starvation which is otherwise inevitable-or nuclear annihilation. Nor would it be for everyone, for any population varies in its membranal properties. At worst, seventy per cent will die. The winnowing out will be done precisely where overpopulation and hopelessness are worst and enough will be left to preserve each nation, each ethnic group, each culture.”

      “To deliberately kill billions-”

      “We would not be killing. We would merely supply the opportunity for people to die. Which particular individuals would die would depend on the particular biochemistry of those individuals. It would be the finger of God.”

      “And when the world discovers what has been done?”

      “That will be after our time,” said Affare, “and by then, a flourishing world with limited population will thank us for our heroic action in choosing the death of some to avoid the death of all.”

      And so on ….

      1. Jams O'Donnell

        Never realised before that Asimov was a nazi – I probably never read him closely enough – but then there’s his heritage . . . Thanks for the heads-up.

        1. ChrisPacific

          If you read enough Asimov, you realize that just because one of his characters advocates for an idea in a convincing fashion doesn’t mean that either (a) they are right or (b) the author believed it.

          A typical Asimov novel might feature half a dozen of these, all carefully and meticulously argued, and all (or nearly all) wrong. If there’s a recurring theme in his work, it’s the tendency of smart people to overestimate their knowledge and intelligence and arrive at a completely wrong conclusion that is nonetheless highly plausible and persuasive.

          1. Michaelmas

            ChrisPacific: A typical Asimov novel might feature half a dozen of these, all carefully and meticulously argued, and all (or nearly all) wrong. If there’s a recurring theme in his work, it’s the tendency of smart people to overestimate their knowledge and intelligence and arrive at a completely wrong conclusion


        2. Michaelmas

          Jams O’Donnell: Never realised before that Asimov was a nazi

          Oh, for god’s sake. Read the (very short) story.

          Spoiler: the scientist feeds himself and the gathered elite his compound so it’s the elite (and himself) who are ‘winnowed’ in the last scene.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            “i was born in the soviet union, to my great surprise…”

            from the author’s bio of one of his books, a million years ago.
            memorable enough top remember into my dotage.

      2. digi_owl

        Degrowth will be imposed by nature, no matter what.

        But it will affect the poor hardest unless there is political will to balance the scales.

        And right now there is none, as the rich firmly have their thumb on the scale.

  17. Wake up Smell the Coffee

    At The speech from the Finnish Prime Minister stating that the West cannot let Russia lose because that would encourage decades of invasions the penny dropped for me. WEF stands for World Elite Fools. Not only hers but all of those WEF Russiahaters have their cause-effect pattern so disturbed it is both disturbing and funny (if it wouldn’t lead to so many unnecessary Ukrainian and Russian deaths and most likely Europeans too soon) at the same time.
    I came up with a Coffee Brewer Test for these people. With this backwards, sidewards, or, politely said, different way of thinking in terms of cause and effect, would these World Elite Fools be able to brew a cup of coffee? When you consider the mechanics and timelags of a coffee brewer from plugging it in, filling up water, coffee powder, put the things together, wait for the water to boil and go through the powdet until you have a cup of coffee ready, you see that there are so many ways these people would fail.
    Imagining Sanna Marin or Joseph Borrell in front of a coffee brewer tool me to so many hilarious places I was crying with laughter.

    1. digi_owl

      She may be to young to have taken part herself, but damn if she isn’t a product of the 68-ers swing of the political left.

  18. Lambert Strether

    I loathe the word “leader” and try never to use it (plus it sounds better in the original German). So any program named with the seemingly unproblematic “young leaders” makes my back teeth itch.

    Here is why. From Federalist 51:

    Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions. This policy of supplying, by opposite and rival interests, the defect of better motives, might be traced through the whole system of human affairs, private as well as public. We see it particularly displayed in all the subordinate distributions of power, where the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other that the private interest of every individual may be a sentinel over the public rights.

    In a world of “leaders,” we don’t have CEOs, Presidents, Board Members, Chairpersons, organizers, stewards, vestries, executive directors, secretaries, Chief Justices, etc., etc., or even the benevolent dictators of open source projects. All “places” (offices) are dissolved into an undifferentiated, well, blob. The concept that “leadership” can be exercised independently of material conditions is really the most vile airport-bookstore-style MBA bullshit, and has naturally become universal. No checks and balances are possible in such a world because there is no concept that private and public interests are different, or that offices are associated with rights. Madison would regard this dissolution as a recipe for tyranny and he would be right. OF course, for WEF, that’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

    1. Sub-Boreal


      In addition to experiencing tooth-itch, when I see post-graduate programs with the L-word in their titles (e.g. Masters in Multidisciplinary Leadership), that’s when I reach for my BS-detector. There seems to be an unspoken bargain between students / customers and instructors: we’ll put up with the baloney in return for helping us get up one more rung on the credential inflation ladder.

    2. Jams O'Donnell

      The idea that the US constitution or its ramifications can be regarded as a reliable guide to conduct can be shown to be spurious by merely a glance at the conduct, since it was constituted, of the US government.

      1. Lambert Strether

        The design goal of the Constitution was not a “guide to conduct”; that’s a category error. The design goal was not to create an etiquette book, but to avoid tyranny, which it arguably achieved (certainly as well or better than some other attempts; certainly democratic centralism). However, checks and balances have dissolved (“leader”), probably beginning with the establishment of the national security state post-WWII, but now the process is virtually complete; that’s the lesson of The Twitter Files, an undifferentiated mass of Flexians.

        1. Kouros

          The Founders had absolutely no problems with Oligarchic Rule. The networking of State organization is emblematic for this. There were no checks and balances against a plutocratic rule, but plenty against “tyranny” while democracy…

          On the morning of May 29, 1787, in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Edmund Randolph, governor of Virginia, opened the meeting that would become known as the Constitutional Convention by identifying the underlying cause of various problems that the delegates of thirteen states had assembled to solve. “Our chief danger,” Randolph declared, “arises from the democratic parts of our constitutions.” None of the separate states’ constitutions, he said, had established “sufficient checks against the democracy.”

          The national security state was a creation of Wall-Street. First civilian CIA bosses were former lawyers on Wall Street.

          1. Scylla

            Yes, I have explained to people for years that the current constitution is the result of a successful coup by the aristocracy/oligarchs of the day. It was negotiated in secret, and there were large-scale riots in protest. All so Oligarchs could cash in. There is a good book about it that focused on the so-called “plebeian populists” that worked to oppose the new constitution called Unruly Americans (If I recall correctly). Ask anyone on the street when the US began, and they will undoubtedly tell you 1776- ask next when the constitution was ratified, and some will say 1789. Ask them what happened between those years, or why the new constitution was put in place, and not a single person will be able to answer. This history is deliberately kept from the US population.

    3. digi_owl

      Because the accredited PMCs are so used to a life of plenty that material conditions do not enter their mind unless forced. And once such forcing was after 2008, and sadly we saw the result of that when they used their spurious humanities degrees to hijack the materially focused Occupy movement.

  19. Mikel

    “…A commonly asked question ever since NATO’s war against Russia in Ukraine really kicked off last February is why on earth would Europe go along with the American neocons in their policies that are driving Europe towards deindustrialization and a long-lasting energy crisis while the US reaps the rewards in LNG exports…”

    Something that also must be considered is all of the US businesses still operating in Russia – despite sanctions. There was conversation about this in the comments sectiom yesterday. It’s an interesting wrinkle in the Davos plans. How much was that discussed at the event?

    Additionally, maybe expect more cracks in Davos/NATO unity to show around questions on how to deal with China?

    1. digi_owl

      Nothing new. US companies kept operating, and trading with, nazi Germany even after FDR strictly forbade it. They even managed to sue, and win, the US government for damages done by air force bombers on German factories.

      What was that line again, capitalists will sell you the very rope you hang them by?

      Assholes will play all sides in any conflict, much like how Maxim “sold” (more like licensed for local production, but i believe he got paid for each unit made) his machine gun to all sides during WW1.

      1. Stephen

        “IBM and the Holocaust” is very enlightening on that point, of course. Not clear that the Holocaust could have happened in the way that it did without punch card machines that were proprietary technology. The mainframe computer or semi conductor technology of their day.

  20. Karl

    Thanks Conor! Very illuminating. Thanks for the polls showing the growing divide between the upper classes and working classes in Europe, which is growing in the US as well.

    This divide is recognized as a “short-term risk” in WEF’s 2023 Global Risk Report, Risk #5 (out of 10) is “Erosion of Social Cohesion and Societal Polarization.” A related one is #1 “Cost of Living Crisis.” Davos thinks Risk #1 will go away in 10 years, and Risk #5 will go down to #7, in other words, the World’s leaders will get these under control, naturally (like all of the other risks Davos has Reported on in the past /s).

    I’ve read the Davos risk reports for many years, and here’s the thing: the risks (e.g. “Global Pandemic”) come and go with the fashion of the time, but they never really get addressed. They often just come back after a few years when they are back in the news.

    Interestingly, in 2023, short-term (2 year) Risk #3 is “Geoeconomic Confrontation”, which in the long run (10 year) drops to #9. They’ll get that fixed!

    I’m not sure the Davos folks realize the extent to which their collective cognitive biases in their shared economic and governing ideologies are correlated with, and contributes to, these risks. “Shared Cognitive Bias” is not mentioned as a risk. Indeed, with each meeting, conformity is only reinforced. Even Kissinger will not rock the vote with an independent voice.

    Frank discussion of the world’s problems is good. But, as one learns in diversity training, too much homogeneity (wealth, power, ethnicity, etc.) leads to tunnel vision. The best corrective for Davos Man is a mirror.

    Consequently, I see these risks only going up over time.

    1. Mikel

      “I’ve read the Davos risk reports for many years, and here’s the thing: the risks (e.g. “Global Pandemic”) come and go with the fashion of the time, but they never really get addressed. They often just come back after a few years when they are back in the news…”

      The action is taken in ways to profit from crisis in the short-term.

      1. Karl

        Maybe this is Davos’s annual cycle/business model:

        Jet in–>talk about global crises–>do deals–>invite politicians into the deal making–> public money committed to grease deals–>Wine, dine, hook & blow–>Hit the slopes–>Jet home.

        Year elapses–> Crises get worse–> Do studies and polls. Issue Reports–>Media campaign: “Great Reset”, “we’re here to help.”

        –>Rinse and repeat next year.

    2. hk

      Well, they sure are addressing the diversity issue by bringing in people who look different…as long as they adhere to the creed and profess their faith exactly as all other club menbers do.

  21. David in Santa Cruz

    Annalena Baerbock’s shameless narcissism is simply breathtaking to behold.

    I find her use of the personal pronoun in reference to her role as the mere temporary representative of a purportedly “democratic” government — while haughtily dismissing the desires of her own voters in favor of an undemocratic regime bent on killing its own people — to be patently absurd, even having endured four years of Trump’s tantrums.

    I am disgusted by her entire generation.

  22. flora

    Great post. Thank you.

    I think in 1980 Europe’s combined world GDP was something like 30% +/- . Today, it is around 15% +/-. Good job, Schwab, you cut it in half. / oy

  23. JEHR

    When I think about why I believed in democracy while I was being educated, it was what I saw around me most of the time. For example, in school the students elected a Student to represent the other students. We had elections to vote for the person we wanted. That student then took part in the administration’s discussions of some policies for the school population. It was a start but I don’t know if it is still done in schools. Then, in history I learned about how Canada slowly grew with provinces added over time. The Prime Ministers took their notions of democracy directly from the UK with some differences; e.g. our Senate is not made up of knighted lords.

    In order to have a democracy work well, the people, all the people, must agree that it is to everyone’s benefit if everyone works for the entire population to have the necessities: food, clothing, and shelter. The healthcare was added as essential by one of the lesser parties which believed in equal rights for good healthcare. It was a battle for which we thank Tommy Douglas. Now everyone has forgotten that looking after the wider public means that “everyone” is taken care of, including the wealthy. The wealthy have decided that greed is allright; that wealth once earned, will trickle down to the others; that no one ever has enough wealth security; that everyone should pay for his/her own “prosperity.”

    I must say, though, that Tommy Douglas’s party, the NDP, still expounds the Socialist ideas from a former time, but the two main parties seems to have become something else entirely. The Liberals have forgotten how to use the Civil Service for guidance and use McKinsey-style consultants. The Conservatives appear to not know how a party works in honest opposition to the other party. Some are even uneducated in how, for example, the Governor of the Bank of Canada works. Something has gone awry in Canada and I have little hope for its furture.

    1. Kouros

      Or you can write to the office of the prime minister directly…

      “It is a great disappointment to see you perpetrating the blatant lie that Canadians do not want democratic reform. It is you and the liberal party that are not prepared to move on with changing the electoral system. I believe that the survey conducted by your government could not have had the ability to indicate one preference over another, and I believe it was designed in such a way in order to obscure any actual preference of Canadians. The only thing that I expected from liberals to do was electoral reform, otherwise you are just a charming Mr. Harper, through which by the way I was getting an extra $2,000 per year for my family. Now I am absolutely convinced that you and your party never had any intention of changing the electoral system. Me and my family along the majority of Canadians got shafted by you Mr. Trudeau. Shame on you! However, I will take pleasure to know how your soul will squirm when you will try to explain your children why people are calling you a liar.”

      1. JEHR

        Kouros, I have often written to many politicians; as a matter of fact, I have a special folder in my e-mail program dedicated to “Politicians of All Stripes” which is quite full. I have even reproduced some of these letters in comments here. The best answers that I obtained were from the Governor of the Bank of Canada who wrote a nice long letter to explain how our bank is different from the American one and answered other questions too. I don’t get much of a reply from the Prime Minister or the Deputy Minister, at least, not replies that I would brag about.

  24. AG

    thx for this piece

    But how convoluted matters can look even on this level among the highest governing bodies becomes apparent a bit in this piece by German-Foreign-Policy-Blog that hopefully will soon be available in English too.

    Until then:

    “Die strategische Souveränität der EU
    Berlin und Paris streben größere Eigenständigkeit der EU gegenüber den USA an und rüsten massiv auf – auch, weil Deutschland in der Rivalität mit Washington schwere Rückschläge verzeichnet.”

    It basically calls upon a French-German alliance to counter the US selfish position in upcoming conflicts. Not least because of the Nordstream affair.

    I guess intended as some medium player between China vs. US.

    Including higher military budgets among others.

    (I am not sure what the sense of it all would be, considering that the two countries amount to hardly 140 mio. people. Reminds me of the 1950s short-lived European aspirations of emancipation. Of course an Italian, Ibero, Benelux participation would be in the cards, I guess. Like good old EWG. Would they risk a rift with a Polish-Balticum-project?)

    “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce” K.M.

  25. spud

    there really is no way out of this unless the creatures that did this to us, they and their policies must be exposed and reversed.

    studebaker makes a very POWERFUL statement, under free trade, unions cannot improve lives

    The Protect the Right to Organize Act is valuable, but big, powerful unions failed to check globalization in the 70s and 80s, when global competition wasn’t as fierce as it is today. Why would unions succeed now, in an environment where even Bernie Sanders thinks there is no alternative to the “competitive” global economic order?

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