The World Economic Forum meeting last week was interesting in that, for the first time, some dissent appeared to the WEF’s party line. That party line is not “corporatism” which requires private property (albeit owned by corporations). With its slogan of “You Will Own Nothing and Be Happy” the WEF negates private property and represents Communism pure and simple. Far from being exterminated in 1991, that pernicious doctrine has advanced to take an ever-greater hold of the world’s central institutions. Eliminating them is our most important ideological task today.
Large public-sector organizations tend to drift everlastingly leftward in today’s society, especially if there is no outside force preventing them from doing so. In Britain, the Church of England lost outside control when in 1976 Prime Minister James Callaghan foolishly agreed to a deal under which the prime minister could only select bishops from a shortlist, instead of picking from all qualified people. Consequently, even Margaret Thatcher was compelled to pick left-wing Archbishops of Canterbury, and since then the standard has deteriorated still further. The U.K. Supreme Court, established in 2009 to replace a system that had worked well for 1,400 years, also appoints judges through a Selection Commission composed of lawyers; there is thus no effective check on the Court moving steadily left past Marx and towards Mao.
Internationally, the same dynamic is in effect. In bodies such as the IMF and World Bank, there is theoretical control by the international community of the appointment of the President, but in practice the bureaucracy is now so powerful (and institutionally leftist) that well-appointed heads like David Malpass at the World Bank are thwarted by their bureaucrats and forced to resign early – while a Bulgarian Communist like Kristalina Georgieva is entirely acceptable at the theoretically capitalist IMF and can remain there for years, even decades.
The World Economic Forum has even less control from the public than most international organizations, since it is self-appointed, having been formed by Klaus Schwab in 1971. Its annual forum at Davos in January quickly became a must-visit for the great and good, where they could network and pick up an indoctrination of the WEF’s views on the world economy. Its problem is that like almost all such organizations it has been captured by the left, so that its economic program, especially that published in 2020 as the “Great Reset,” is thoroughly pernicious. Schwab himself has been present throughout, and doubtless believes in the elixir he is selling, though in recent years he has tended to lean in rather too far to his “Dr. Evil” persona, making him conspicuously mockable to those with the sense of humor that he definitively lacks.
This year the WEF was subjected to a blast of economic reality from the admirable Argentine President Javier Milei, who gave a brief but powerful presentation that explained the virtues of private property and the free market and pointed out that the WEF, CEOs and all, was part of the problems that bedeviled the current world economy, not part of the solution to them. Schwab is said to have walked out during Milei’s presentation; presumably the shock of being subjected to a blast of economic reality, contradicting every Marxist nostrum that he holds dear, was too much for him.
Germany has an unpleasant tendency to produce authoritarian big-government personalities, of whom the nationalist ones like Hitler are universally denounced, while the globalist ones like Angela Merkel, heroine of her local Komsomol chapter, are universally feted by the media. Schwab is one of the latter type; he has a humorless conviction that, if only the distressingly unruly plebs from outside Germany could be forced to accept his demonic precepts, all would be well in an orderly world. One could regard Schwab as Big Brother, except that Big Brother, at least in the 1954 movie was good-looking, whereas Schwab is conspicuously homely.
The WEF’s tendency to leftist absolutism is strong. At this year’s meeting, for example, European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen (whose re-election to a second term next month would be a seriously dystopian action) demanded controls over “misinformation and “disinformation.” In country after country, we have already seen that these in practice become an excuse to control the information flow, preventing unauthorized information from reaching the public and ensuring that state media have a monopoly – a classic totalitarian technique straight out of “1984.” The WEF also wishes to move to digital money, with an expiration date and controls on what it might be used for – extending a level of state control that Orwell never dreamed of, which would eliminate the last elements of capitalism in the economic system. Finally, it is a supporter of the climate change movement and its “war on farmers” which is a grotesque harassment of hard-working people that threatens to produce mass starvation.
Civil liberties and the rights of individuals are in severe danger today, in that through surveillance cameras, digital currency and AI surveillance of speech and writing, the potentially totalitarian can achieve a level of control far beyond the limited possibilities of “1984.” The WEF is an enthusiast for such controls, seeking to stamp out the unruly elements in society; as such it represents the “boot stamping on the human face – forever” of Orwell’s nightmare, extending its control to the entire globe and using modern technology to increase the penetration of the boot.
By paying a subscription to the WEF and attending its Davos conference, CEOs are enabling the worst kind of leftist oppression of ordinary people. They are also being indoctrinated yearly in the worst and most baleful economic doctrines of the academic left. This is the kind of thing that shareholder capitalism can hope to control; if each Davos CEO is harassed and ruthlessly mocked at his AGM by enthusiastic shareholders, it will become “too much trouble” and he will abandon both subscription and attendance. That will end the subversion of the beliefs underlying his organization, to which subversion he voluntarily subscribes for the sake of “networking” opportunities. Similarly, any government subsidies can be attacked and ended by popular campaigns.
The WEF is a dangerously oppressive nuisance; it should be terminated forthwith. Other international bodies may alas be more difficult to kill.
(The Bear’s Lair is a weekly column that is intended to appear each Monday, an appropriately gloomy day of the week. Its rationale is that the proportion of “sell” recommendations put out by Wall Street houses remains far below that of “buy” recommendations. Accordingly, investors have an excess of positive information and very little negative information. The column thus takes the ursine view of life and the market, in the hope that it may be usefully different from what investors see elsewhere.)