GORDON Brown is in trouble, this time because he arranged for an international conference on the future of Afghanistan to be held in London this week -- at precisely the same moment that any one who is any one in the world of “business, government, the media, science, religion, the arts and society” will want to be at Davos in Switzerland for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. These annual meetings have been taking place for forty years with the objective of “Improving the State of the World by engaging leaders from all walks of life to shape the global agenda”. Perhaps it would be unfair to ask what degree of success the Forum has had in reaching this high objective -- after all, other organisations, such as the United Nations, have been engaged on a similar project for even longer without a great deal of success. But there is an air of high-minded superiority about Davos that is irritating when there is no evidence to hand of the usefulness of its gatherings. Each year it devises a theme for all its lectures and discussions. This year it is “Rethink. Redesign. Rebuild” -- hardly a unique call to arms to put right what has been so obviously wrong with the world in the recent past. What will it be next year?


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