The Pnyx: On Davos and Globalization

Joshua Schuetz
Staff Writer

“Globalization 4.0.”

That was the theme at the World Economic Forum this year. 

Besides being laughably tone-deaf, the slogan serves as something of an indication that today’s elite truly have run out of ideas.

The problem with Davos, and other elite gatherings of its kind, is that they ultimately accomplish little more than giving international correspondents something to talk about for a week.

Certainly, important issues are brought up at the Forum, climate change being foremost among them. But never is there any concrete plan to actually fix the problem, or any other. The irony of the fact that numerous business leaders used private jets, a notorious source of carbon emissions, to get to an event where climate change is at the forefront of discussion, should not be lost on people.

I wrote last week about how populism is upending establishment orthodoxies on right and left. If the establishment, either in politics or business, wants to put forth a reasonable alternative, they’re going to need to do better than “Globalization 4.0.”

The resistance to economic globalization is due to several factors, including the collapse of regional economies, disputes about immigration, and the growing sense of insecurity in developed countries. 

It remains to be seen whether the political and economic establishments will put forward a viable solution to the problems facing the world. If they fail, and nobody else can propose serious alternatives, we will have to navigate a more perilous world. Let us hope that it does not come to that.

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