There is a powerful strain within the Forum that loathes a vaccuum. So the idea of a gathering with no agenda fills them with horror. Such impulses overtook the welcome lunch, which traditionally is a nice, purely social event on the first day. It enables old-timers to catch up with Davos friends, and for newcomers it provides a gentle immersion into the Davos “club”.
This year, we were asked to discuss “Restoring global confidence: is it the message or the media?” I have to confess that at my table, by common consent, we had a free-ranging discussion that wasn’t really to the point. But we all made some new acquaintances.
Other tables were more disciplined. What was interesting to me, as tables reported back on their discussions, was how many began, “We thought the US media…” I suspect that if we were outside the US, the US media would have been part of the discussion, but not the focus.
That’s a danger for this Davos. With the world’s hyperpower on our doorstep, how can minds not turn to it on every occasion? Something to watch.