27 January 2011

Just a Glimpse of Davos Annual Madness

First thing about Davos 2011, I would like to handover my gratitude from numerous world-caliber economic analysts for their heady articles written in several media, to Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times’s dealbook columnist who wrote worth to read “A Hefty Price for Entry to Davos” on January 24th, 2011.  Mr. Sorkin comprehensively clarify in his article about how much is the price for becoming Davos attendee, and the answer… is not-surprisingly enormous.

According to Mr. Sorkin’s article, there are several levels of Davos’s membership, first, is the "Basic level" where you have to pay 50,000 Swiss Franc ($52,000) and the invitation for the event will follow. The ticket itself costs 18,000 Swiss Franc ($19,000) plus tax, so it’s gonna costs $71,000 for both the membership and the entrance fee (remember, it is for one person only).  The second level is “Industry Associate Level”, which will enable the member to stick together with billionaires in private sessions, and it costs $137,000, so the membership plus the ticket fee is gonna be $156,000. To upgrade your membership from “Industry Associate Level” into “Industry Partner Level” in which you might be able to bring along your business colleagues, you have to pay $263,000 plus the two tickets fee ($301,000 in total). Now how about big boss needs to be accompanied by his/her team which consist of (let say) 5 people? Let’s go to “Strategic Partner Level” with the price tag $527,000 and plus not to forget one person entrance fee (still) costs $19.000/person. Honestly, I’m pretty bad with math, so please stop these whole calculations…. here.

What is this all about? These dollars to get into 5 days international economic conference? Is this some kind of joke? No, it is not a joke, or if it is, I must say this joke is the long lasting ones. This year, the World Economic Forum’s annual event will reach it’s 41st year, although it’s name is more recent. Klaus Schwab, the initiator, a German-born academic and professor of management studies, was named it with European Management Symposium and until 1987 it was called the European Management Forum.

Some historical moments happened in this forum. Back to 1987, Former Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Ozal claims that Davos stopped his country going to war with Greece, when the tensions between two countries escalated. They did not result in armed conflict because Mr. Ozal met Andreas Papandreou the year before in Davos and knew that he could trust his Greek counterpart.

Moreover, controversial story occurred in 1983 when British trade union leader Arthur Scargill came to Davos predicting the imminent collapse of capitalism and calling for the establishment of a “socialist system”. Well, world knows that everyone and everything in the event is all about “Capitalist and Capitalism.” More than hundreds well known people coming from all over the world to meet each other in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland for this event. And these names is more than obvious to give us pictures of what this event really is (not limited to).

The CEO’s
Bob Diamond (Barclays)
Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan Chase)
Josef Ackerman (Deutsche Bank)
John Mack and Walid Chammah (Morgan Stanley)
Gary Cohn and Richard Gnodde (Goldman Sachs)
Brady Dougan (Credit Suisse)
Stuart Gulliver (HSBC)

Billionaires and Industrialists
Bill and Melinda Gates (Representing the foundation)
Larry Page (Google co-founder)
Lakshmi Mittal (Steel Magnate)
George Soros (Hedge fund)
Chris Cooper Hohn (TCI)
Bill Brouder (Hermitage Capital Management)
Terry Leahy (Tesco)
Marc Bolland (M&S)
Indra Nooyi (Pepsi&Co)
Doug Mc Millon (Wal Mart)
Mark Parker (Nike)
Carl Henric Suanberg (British Petroleum)
Peter Vossel (Shell)

…… and still counting.

The 2011 event will be held from 26th -30th of January 2011 with it’s theme “Shared Norms for the New Reality”, reflecting the fact that people live in a world that is becoming increasingly complex and interconnected but also experiencing an erosion of common values and principles.

Let’s hope that these extravagant days in Swiss Alps resort will be worthy enough for political leaders to attend, and will successfully define the common values and principles that the world really needs. Otherwise, the million dollars that spent in the Switzerland's resort will only prove how brilliant Mr. Schwab is as a businessman :)

Lima, January 25th, 2011

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