Foreign Policy Magazine

The Emperor Has No Clothes

Davos Man once represented the inevitable arc of global progress. No longer.

This month, Davos Man will come out to play. January is when the World Economic Forum (WEF) holds its annual conference at a Swiss mountain resort to “improve the state of the world.” More than a business meeting for 2,500-plus globetrotting academics, executives, politicians, and lobbyists, it is a tribal celebration for leaders who worship a holy trinity of ideas: capitalism, globalization, and innovation. In a 2004 essay, Samuel Huntington, who popularized the term “Davos Man,” described this breed of humans as “view[ing] national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing.” (And, yes, more than 80 percent of attendees at the WEF conference are male.)

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