The small village of Davos, hidden in the Swiss moutains, is once again to host the world's most spectacular private gathering of the masters of the universe; among the exclusively invited guests are 2,500 power brokers, including 30 heads of state, royalty, 1,400 executives and owners of billion-dollar enterprises, and at least 12 central bank chiefs.
But unlike in past years, when companies such as Google pampered the Davos crowd with lavish parties, caviar and fountains of champagne, financial and natural disasters have spread a gloomy atmosphere. Now, more than ever, the participants of the World Economic Forum are waiting for a superhero to fix the business world. The Davos 007 is Klaus Schwab, 71-year-old business professor.
His mission: to save the world, as declared in the rallying call of this, the 40th gathering: Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild, which opens on Wednesday.
But, while the exlusive hotels hosting the financial, as well as the Hollywood stars, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, welcome the influx, residents have mixed feelings about the huge levels of security designed to combat the threat of violence that has erupted in the past few years.