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What I Learned at Davos

Davos man must change. But that cannot mean rejecting the core commitment to the view that human ingenuity, fostered by open societies and rewarded by markets, remains the sturdiest foundation for the advancement of humankind.

DAVOS – The World Economic Forum’s annual flagship meeting in Davos has always been an easy target for caricature, even ridicule. Over the years, it has gained a somewhat deserved reputation for gathering a bunch of global elites in a posh Swiss resort for a week’s worth of self-congratulatory speeches – a sort of affirmation that the elite’s values and successes epitomize the triumph of democracy and capitalism.

That is not to say that dissent has not been tolerated; but, more often than not, it was mere quibbling at the margins, never a genuine reflection on what might be flawed or missing. Until the financial crisis of 2008, Davos never wavered in its cheerleading for democracy, markets, and globalization.

Today, Davos man (and it remains mostly men) isn’t so supremely confident. The challenges he faces are on many fronts, and they aren’t all called Trump.