Anthony Hilton: Pompous and smug, Davos has lost the plot

Anthony Hilton
Saturday 18 January 2014 01:00

My Week We can expect the papers next week to be filled with musings from Davos, where the business and political elite are about to have their annual shindig in the Alps, so it was particularly satisfying on Thursday to record a piece for National Public Radio in the United States on why the whole gathering had long since lost the plot.

There was a time in the 1990s when it really was special, where you could find yourself sharing a lift with Nelson Mandela, or queuing for a coffee with the US Treasury Secretary, or having a late-night drink with Gordon Brown. But not any more.

The great and the good now lock themselves away from hoi polloi between events and the public sessions are too often exercises in pomposity, smugness and group-think. Iconoclasts are no longer welcome. So growing numbers of the very top people no longer go – or simply fly in for an hour or two. It's sad, but like many organisations that have become too successful, it has forgotten why it was invented in the first place.

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