In Dante’s Inferno, sinners were punished by having to continually be reminded of their crimes for eternity. For example, fortune tellers were forced to walk backward with their heads twisted backward as well. And usurers had a bag of money tied around their heads that they could never ever touch.
If Dante had to come up with a punishment for today’s global elites, he just might make them attend an endless conference in the town of Davos, Switzerland. Each morning for eternity, commencing at 9 a.m. sharp, the sinner would be forced to listen to an all-day panel discussion — with Thomas Friedman, Nouriel Roubini, and Jamie Dimon — on opportunities and challenges facing the global economy. Every once in a while Bono might pop in as well to liven things up a bit.
You’re just jealous
Earlier today, the actual meeting of the World Economic Forum began at Davos, and we’re already hearing news and policy ideas from the event. Far from seeing this as “hell on earth,” the roughly 2,600 attendees will be enthusiastically talking and partying for the next several days. In addition to bankers, politicians, academics, and journalists, there will be plenty of celebrities there too. Just this morning, in fact, we learned that Derek Jeter is attending the event.
In general, I really like conferences, and believe that it’s a good idea for thought leaders to get together periodically to share ideas. This particular conference, however, seems seriously flawed on a number of levels. Here are four reasons to be skeptical of Davos:
1. Davos is a huge boondoggle for company executives. In a recent piece in New York magazine, Kevin Roose notes that many of the companies sending big delegations to Davos have also been laying off workers, and cutting back on other expenditures lately. With an average cost per head of $40,000, Davos isn’t cheap, even for Wall Street executives.
Despite that hefty price tag, Roose tells us that PepsiCo sent six attendees, even though it had to cut 8,700 jobs this year. And Wall Street bad boy Citigroup sent seven delegates. Even the slumping Washington Post has sent a delegation. Somewhere, Dante is furiously taking notes.
Read More at The Motley Fool . By John Reeves.