By Jim Hightower on February 10, 2014

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.

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Photo: Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com.

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Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.

On November 20 every year for the last fifteen years, transgender people gather for vigil ceremonies to acknowledge...

Yesterday the U.S. Senate narrowly defeated a bill that would approve construction on the Keystone XL pipeline.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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