General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu
Member of IFIMES Advisory Board and
Founder and the former CEO of the INGEPO Consulting
Davos 2023: World Economic Forum from great reset to great fragmentation
After more than half a century from the first edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF), namely in 2023, its 53rd edition unfolded and brought together again an important part of the personalities of the political, economic and financial, and media fields and others or, briefly said, the planet’s plutocracy and its connected sectors.
I recall that if not long ago, at WEF Davos 2020, its founder, Klaus Schwab was preaching „Great Reset”, this year topic was “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”, thus acknowledging, in part at least, the failure of the 2020 assumptions.
Actually, the gathering took place on the background of developments marked by pessimism among which we mention the decline of global stocks at the end of 2022 by almost 20% while the total loss of the markets amounted to 30 trillion dollars, the greatest decline since 2008. The predictions for 2023 as well are not optimistic as it is assessed a decline of global growth marked by inflation, further markets volatility on the background of conflicts that are not prone to evolve towards a negotiated settlement.
The main topics of the Forum were: the fight against global warming and climate change, the conflict in Ukraine and economic inequalities.
We think that it is becoming more and more obvious that the Davos grouping pursue the achievement of its own agenda for the XXI century, as the topics set forth as noble purposes are hiding in fact other interests.
If we speak of economic inequality, we believe each Davos gathering scored a deepening of inequalities. A case in point is the fact that during April-July 2020 only, the wealth of the world’s almost 2,200 billionaires increased by 27.5%.
According to Credit Suisse public data, between December 2019 and December 2021, of the newly created 42 trillion dollars in the global economy, 26 trillion dollar (63%) belong to the richest 1% of the world population while the remaining 16 trillion dollar (37%) belong to the remaining 99%. From 1995 until now, the wealth of the richest people in the world increased by 6-9% annually (at least twice compared to the world average growth) with the proviso that in 2020 it was much greater, as mentioned above.
As far as the fight against global warming and climate change are concerned, we express our reluctance regarding the real concern to this effect for which Greta Thumberg was found as an iconic figure. How come that she was chosen as a symbol for a less polluted world?
According to Oxfam research issued on November 8, 2022, the yearly pollution produced by a billionaire is one million time bigger than that produced by a person belonging to the 90% of the poorest people in the world.
What is hiding the statement that the bovine flatulence causers an important increase in CO2 emissions or the appeal of one of Siemens directors that a billion people give up eating meat (when for sure one billion people in the world do not eat meat while 20 million people are dying yearly of hunger)? What will the European Union succeed in doing if reduces carbon emissions as it proposed when that represents a tiny percentage of the global pollution? We don’t think it will be an example to follow.
The UN Secretary General António Guterres in his remarks at Davos assessed that “frustration and anger over a moral bankrupt financial system in which systemic inequalities are amplifying societal inequalities … we face the gravest levels of geopolitical division and mistrust in generations”.
With regard to the conflict in Ukraine, it is less probable that it will end in 2023, but we hope that conditions could be created so that peace negotiations begin in the second half of the year. Given that war is the successful industry of our time, we should expect that after the Big Pharma profits, the great arms producing corporations claim the gains as well.
The war in Ukraine was triggered by Russia’s error in judgement with regard to the domestic situation in Ukraine and its bet on a pale reaction of the European Union and the US. The conflict in Ukraine is more than a political conflict, is more than a conflict dominated by economic interests and, at a deeper level it has anthropological dimensions.
What does the future hold? Klaus Schwab and the elites gathering annually at Davos will continue to pursue their interests until a counterweight at these interests will be created. We see for the time being how the big corporations are subordinating the state through their different structures. We see how the state’s wealth, natural resources etc. go into possession of corporations owned by a handful of people. Romania is unfortunately an obvious example in this respect. But globalism is no longer so monolithic as it seemed ten years ago. A proof of that is Elon Musk’s reaction as he was not invited at Davos. Sovereignism seems to be a trend starting to make up ground globally. It is not yet clear how far it will advance.
We should be more concerned about education with a greater emphasis on humanistic studies. The differences between technological progress and social conscience have grown so large that they could trigger cataclysmic events.
Presentation of the author as keynote speaker at international webinar „Post Davos 2023. From the Unipolar World to a Multipolar World?„, organized by EURODEFENCE Romania and MEPEI Institute, Thursday, January 26, 2023, attended by a huge international audience from USA to Australia.
About the author:
Corneliu Pivariu is a highly decorated two-star general of the Romanian army (Rtd). He has founded and led one of the most influential magazines on geopolitics and international relations in Eastern Europe, the bilingual journal Geostrategic Pulse, for two decades. General Pivariu is a member of IFIMES Advisory Board.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect IFIMES official position.
 IFIMES – International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN, New York, since 2018.
Comment by Global Review:
There are at least three points of views regarding the official goals of the WEF and its role. You take them at face value and think they want to achieve their new green sustainable capitalism with a human and social face-then you come to conclusions like the retired IFIMES general.
The other view, which he also subsequently claims, is that this is just green washing and a big Green New Deal deal that might prevent the devastation and destruction caused by climate change, but maybe the WEF doesn´t even care about this, but it´s just about greenwashing profits and also doesn’t care about social inequalities and push it agenda whatever it takes , also in terms of social inequality. Then he logically discovers nothing but multinational corporations and business interests that actually control politics, the state and the nation-state, and then indirectly supports as a counter-model Russian, North Korean, Vietnamese or Chinese state-oligarch capitalism , where the primacy of politics still would prevail and the so-called “ Sovereignty” and there were no social inequalities despite the fact that all the Gini coefficients are surpassing those of the West by oligarchs, red capitalists and state capitalists, including corruption, and ignoring that there are also such multipolar counter-WEFs as the Asian Aooa Forum, the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, the Valdaiclub in competition with the Bilderberger, etc. So social inequality seem to be a pretext and ecuse and accepted there despite all the indignation and crocodile tears against the WEF elites, which we do not have to defend, but this sort of criticism is of a very tactical nature and, due to the idea of total state sovereignty and a so-called dialogue of cultures a call for authotarism and totaliraism , which by the catch phrase “ souvereignity“ strangely enough then again covers up, compensates and replaces political, economic and technological interests and developments, ergo: to conceal and hide them for propaganda purposes, especially as a task for the education system and its ideologization in this sense.
And the third point of view is if you want to have a sustainable, green, social world society the question is can it be achieved by reforms and national states with a capitalist economy which engage in multilateralism or some vague multipolar world or if this is not a misleading assumption or if you need a kind of world revolution with some sort of supranational body or world state, however it would even then remain unclear who the historical driver and actor could be. The WEF and the West are a strong, but also increasingly fragmented and therefore in the long-term not reliable power ( as America First nationalism, Russia First and its right wing and left wing populist supporters also exist all over the world and they always will contsantly undermine multilateral soultions except unilateral alliance and bloc building) and maybe also not the ruling classes of a multipolar or even One World, if they ever could find a compromise or establish a new multipolar world order-whatever this means. A cooperative new mutipolar world order based on a minimal consensus of common world goods and some sort of peaceful coexistence or a Sino- Russian centric new multipolar world order with authoritarism or a value- based democtratic or more realpolitik interested based new multipolar world order with a leading body of the G 20 or he leading great powers? A world revolution for a world goverment or an international supranational people´s councils or a world state or world federation beyond the UNO if their is no UN reform ? As the last option seems to be – let´s say it euphemistically- more utopian or in a distant future, the question remains if the other two options will have any effect either. Or are we doomed für apocalypse and doomsday or have to live with what the WEF calls a polycrisis and just find some way to adjust and somehow survive the coming catastrophe and after tragic losses have a sort of surving hard core of the world population an menkind in a more nightmarish and dysutopian world?