The world's greatest benefactors of capitalism are questioning the virtue of unfettered markets
Capitalism Has 'Sinned'
Klaus Schwab, the money and brains behind Davos, told the AP "We [the global business community] have sinned." "I'm a deep believer in free markets, but free markets have to serve society," he said, decrying a "lack of inclusiveness in the capitalist system." Schwab hinted that he may invite members of the Occupy Davos igloo encampment to the ski resort to discuss ways to make free market economies more accountable to the 99 percent.
Davos Festivities meet Bloomberg scorn
The stark differences between the conditions of the haves and have-nots at the Swiss ski resort town were made exceedingly apparent in an article from Bloomberg. On Tuesday, traditionally a day of high-brow rest and relaxation for the 2,000 rich and powerful WEF visitors, 80s pop ensemble Duran Duran serenaded the crowds, who sipped "Taittinger and whiskey-infused hot chocolate." Meanwhile, at a carpark outside of town, Occupiers ate in their self-made igloos.
Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner
Some of the world's rich and powerful won't be attending the WEF this year, after making headlines in 2011. News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch and UBS AG's former executive officer Oswald Gruebel will not be attending. Murdoch is still wrapped up in a phone hacking scandal, and Gruebel cost UBS $2.3 billion in losses after dabbling in unauthorized trading. Klaus Schwab defended the 'Davos Man' in light of the high-profile absences. "Davos Man is not this caricature of the rich and powerful person," he told Bloomberg.
No Place Like Home for the Holidays
This year, the Chinese Lunar New Year coincides with the World Economic Forum. Torn between tradition and schmoozing the world's economic elite, Beijing has largely chosen to sit out this round of economic talks, according to an article from the Financial Times. With the exception of Zhang Xiaoqing, vice-minister of China's National Development and Reform Commission, China's usual convoy of high-profile officials will start the Year of the Dragon in the People's Republic with their families, as per Chinese custom.
Beefed Up Security
Around 3,500 Swiss soldiers are on-call at Davos to protect the WEF's visitors from Occupy demonstrators attempting to crash what NPR called "a Superbowl for smart, rich people," according to a report from the AP. The soldiers have erected some 11 miles of security barriers around the Davos ski resort to separate the 1 and 99 percenters, in what Swiss army representative Stefan Hofer said was "an arduous task" given the heavy snow the area has seen over the past several weeks.>