Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
Were you invited to the big doing's in Davos? You know, the annual, powwow of power elites held in that posh resort town in the Swiss Alps. The World Economic Forum, as it's formally called, brings together a bunch of corporate chieftains, the heads of state from various countries, an A-list of entertainment sparklies, and a horde of economists, consultants, and lesser politicos trying to get noticed.
The theme of this year's wine, dine & shine show was: "The Reshaping of the World." How modest is that? But you can't expect modesty from an event that's been dubbed "a velvet rope club for the 1 percent of the 1 percent" -- or, as the Mayor of London once put it: "A constellation of egos involved in massive mutual orgies of adulation."
Maybe that's why the big news from Davos this year was not who attended, but the Platinum-Level Biggies who spurned the invite, such as Warren Buffett, along with the head honchos of Apple, Facebook, and Google. It seems that many are put off by the declining level of speakers and panelists.
As if to emphasize that decline, the Forum organizers even brought in Gov. Rick "Oops" Perry of Texas to be on a health care panel. Now that's industrial-strength chutzpah! After 14 years as governor, Perry's state still has a fourth of its people with no health insurance, the ugliest performance of all 50 states. Indeed, if Davos attendees need an example of how a public official who enjoys government-paid health care can so crassly deny any coverage to millions of the less fortunate, Perry's their man.
Adding to the Forum's unintended satire of elites-without-a-clue, a major sub-theme this year was how to address economic inequality. One way would be to invite at least one person who's on the receiving end of inequality -- maybe one of Rick Perry's uninsured constituents.
Listen to this commentary: