Voices: Forget the conspiracy theories – Davos is proof that there’s no secret group controlling the world

·3-min read
It’s growing prominence has, unsurprisingly, made Davos a prime target of conspiracy theories (AFP via Getty Images)
It’s growing prominence has, unsurprisingly, made Davos a prime target of conspiracy theories (AFP via Getty Images)

Behind every conspiracy theory is the view that a secret cabal of people control the world. But if there’s one thing we’ve learnt over the last few years, the elites have no clue what’s coming next. Never mind controlling the world, the world’s richest and most powerful people are struggling even to influence it.

Look at Davos. The World Economic Forum‘s annual event is currently taking place at Davos in Switzerland. It’s growing prominence has, unsurprisingly, made Davos a prime target of conspiracy theories. Scan web forums that talk about being silenced by elites – on everything from vaccines to climate change and gun rights – they mention Davos.

I bet the organisers love that. Genuinely. I suspect they have long wondered why the useless Bildergers or Rothschilds get all the attention. Why not them? After all, it’s not a desirable club until everyone overestimates its power.

But regardless of the attention Davos receives, it’s clear the global elites have no clue what’s going on. At the last Davos event in 2019, I couldn’t see any debate on pandemics or on preparing for such emergencies.

Of course, Davos’ elites can’t predict the future. But what about shaping it? Bill Gates – a regular attendee – has been warning of pandemics for over a decade, but hardly anyone took notice until March 2020. And even then, they didn’t listen. His calls to organise a global response to Covid and create new factories to manufacture vaccines for all was ignored by everyone except the World Health Organisation, who couldn’t do much without US and European action anyway. Nothing went according to anyone’s plan. Even China, long blamed for first unleashing the virus, is now the last major place on earth struggling to contain it.

Davos was regularly attended and lavished upon by rich Russian oligarchs; they’ve had to be quietly disinvited now. No one saw the Russian invasion of Ukraine coming, let alone warned of it. The same goes for the energy and food crunch we are facing now.

And it goes on. Since late last year, stock markets around the world have been falling consistently and precipitously. The biggest losers: the Davos elite. The top 50 richest people in the world have lost $800bn (the entire national income of Sweden) over the last six months. Elon Musk has seen his fortune fall by nearly $70bn, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos by $60bn and Bill Gates by $20bn. Crypto billionaires are losing money hand over fist too. Changpeng Zhao, founder of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has watched his fortune crash by $80bn since November 2021.

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And no one seems to be able to stop this rout. Some predict it will continue until it’s among the worst in history.

My point is that we all need to pay a lot less attention to Davos. Of course, I’m not going to lie and pretend I wouldn’t go if I got a free ticket. But such gatherings are no more than glitzy networking events. They attract attention because journalists know we love stories about billionaires trying to predict things, or being confronted by the likes of Greta Thunberg. But that’s it.

If the events of the last few years have shown anything, it’s that the world is far bigger and more unpredictable than we think. The richest people in the world can’t shape the future any more than you and I can. The biggest hole in every theory is the idea that a small group of people can orchestrate events. Folks, you’re giving them far too much credit. They have no clue what’s going on, and they can’t stop the train crash they are currently facing.

The beauty and tragedy of this life is that everything is out of our control. Davos is only proof that the richest refuse to accept that fact, and are paying the price for it.

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