Davos Newbies Home


Why won’t the World Economic Forum hold its planned meeting in Dublin next month? “Joe Carolan, of Globalise Resistance, says the WEF forum has been driven out of Dublin because of ‘mounting public pressure and security concerns’.” That makes a nice story and may rally his supporters, but my sources reckon WEF postponed (the Forum never cancels) the Dublin meeting because of a distinct lack of interest from its members.

Demographic disaster 

When I went to Davos in the early ’90s, there was a gloomy academic named Murray Feshbach who was determined to convince people of the environmental and demographic disaster that was unfurling in Russia. Too few listened.

Now the latest report is that Russia’s population may well halve in the next 50 years. “Russia is battling both social decay and the same population changes that afflict western Europe. People here are having less children, for the same social reasons as on mainland Europe. Big families are not needed, or fashionable, any more. The difference in Russia, however, is that the social and economic conditions to replace the missing children with immigrants are not here. Who wants to emigrate to a xenophobic country that has few job opportunities?”

Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition 

Henry Chesbrough on how innovation can result in the unexpected: “The emotional responses to innovation of ‘fear’ and ‘replacement’ are based on a misconception: the idea that the likely impact of a technology is readily foreseen at the outset. The reality is that extensive experimentation and trial and error may have to occur before the best use of a new technology can be discovered. And the creator of the technology may not even know what this best use might be.”

Without comment 

“We can find over $200 billion to fight a war on terrorism, but we can’t find the money… to provide the anti-retroviral treatment for all those who need such treatment in Africa.” Stephen Lewis, UN special envoy on HIV/Aids.

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