Power & Politics: The Enduring Importance of the World Economic Forum

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Ever since 1971, Davos in Switzerland has played host to a unique event, one that draws the leading lights in business, economics, politics, and public advocacy together to discuss the major issues facing the world. The World Economic Forum took place this month, and its stellar line-up of guests and speakers reveals how relevant and important this event still is.

Some critics call it a social gathering of the rich and powerful that does little but to stoke the egos of the mighty. This is far from the case. This year alone brought remarkable attention to a number of pressing issues, including climate change and the need to empower a new generation of global leaders. These were not mere bromides, but powerful discussions and analyses of critical issues facing the planet and human civilization.

Yet even if it were nothing more than a social gathering of the world’s elite, it would still be worthwhile. Some people will always rail against the wealthy and powerful meeting together away from, or at least more away from, the public eye. Yet it is just such meetings that help to furnish the necessary soft connections between the people responsible for leading the world’s governments and economies. Of course people should scrutinize what they say and do at such events, but we must also acknowledge the dividends paid by the world’s leaders working together.

It is that spirit of cooperation that makes the gatherings at Davos a worthy exercise. In a world that is fraught with ever more peril and challenge, it is essential that leaders be able to meet and develop relationships that will allow them to seek peaceful, consensus-based solutions, rather than resorting to force and narrow sectional interest. Our future is secured by small things like the World Economic Forum. Long may it continue.

About John Engle

John Engle is a merchant banker and author living in the Chicago area. His work has been featured by the Heartland Institute and the American Thinker. His first book, Trinity Student Pranks: A History of Mischief and Mayhem, was published in September 2013. John is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and the University of Oxford. Read more from this author.