Davos: Same old bore – more Hudson Clubs would be better

Davos may be beyond its shelf life or headed that way though it is currently now considered as one of the most useful places to go to get the very best new ideas from top leaders. It includes an image as being the “in” of talk shops on where the world is going, how to solve the world’s fundamental challenges and how to use that so-called insider information from attending to a participant’s benefit.

In one of the key panel’s deliberation which was put up front for web browsing on the Davos Forum site dealing with challenges of the future, we had so many old idea people and no millennials. And some panel members should likely not have been there or should have come better primed to contribute more gravitas, possibly additional transparency and critical thinking to the topic.

One of the first panel members was the Minister of Finance from Brazil. While this talker has heft, his rattling off that Brazil was in the process of structural transformation was not that insightful.

Instead, he should have talked about the critical need for working harder on eliminating corruption. Along with his lofty talk about government programmes in the past, he should have provided some specifics about the financial efficiency of efforts that helped the poor train for small business and other jobs and the critical need for their continuation with possibly private sector partnerships. That has been transformational as well for the very needy who should not be forgotten.

Corruption,lack of government accountability, government waste, technological innovation including robotics and the impact on current and future employment would have been for example, better served up than discussing Chinese commercial real estate by the Chinese panelist.

As well, this lady panelist (but only one woman on the stage) a billionaire property development tycoon seemed to do very well talking up her business but not addressing serious issues that China is going through that would benefit likely from a better allocation of resources away from building more office space and certain other infrastructure. Maybe these developers need to become more active in public housing development at low profit margins to them.

Working on equity includes efforts to increase pensions and social benefits giving the average Chinese consumer more interest into buying into spending in the general economy. That is an important issue for hundreds of millions than buying a bigger urban based house or flat many of whom can still ill afford to and certainly to experience any property price bubbles.

A media piece on Chinese real estate ghost towns is instructive in that it reminds us further that there was need for panelists to talk about transforming the Chinese global growth engine to the world into a general domestic consumer one. This ensures thatvthe Chinese do not overly pile up savings in part to compensate for the lack of private and decent government social safety nets. When I was a professor at a Chinese university even more than several years ago, I used to go past many empty residences that remained so during my tenure.

The Irish premier, on the other hand, basically provided his so called paradigm of pathway to success through butcher cuts to the economy over years using IMF and big bank prescriptions. He forgot to explain that by the time your base is so smashed down and on such a small based economy you will see significant growth eventually particularly if as he smartly did keep the business tax rates down. He also had least has a good story about streamlining wasteful parts of government which he might have better elaborated on.

However, Iceland that did not cave into the banks after the banks gutted its economy might have been a better invite. But that would have not been Kosher for a forum in a country heavily reliant on the big bank support and participation? One can only describe Iceland as a model of people led, anti-bank activism measured in a way to ensure a more just economic relaunch.But then unlike Greece or Ireland they had control of their currency to resist the ECB hammer heads.

On the matter of the strong if not large headed, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, he used the forum to push for jacking up interest rates, finally. Unfortunately, one needs to worry that if he gets his way, the spread between savers and lenders will be such that savers like the elderly will only marginally benefit.

Related to banking also, monetary policy will not be discussed in any sharp and deep innovative way there including popular monetary easing for the poor. At least that policy approach was given a serious write up by the Council of Foreign Relations in their Foreign Affairs publication. Bravo to CFR.

Though one has to remember that Nobel laureate Joseph Stilglitz was on that same panel and as usual, admirably stood up for the poor. Unfortunately, he admirably defended massive government to borrow huge amounts of new money to deal with what panelists saw in general as too slow growth and too low aggregate demand.

That is excluding the Chinese developer who insisted all was generally well and that it was the media and stock market sideshow that were distracting the cheery story of present day China.

Instead of multiplying Davos fora, I think we need more of what I referred to in past blogs as Hudson Clubs than Davos confabs. This would be a vast web of local informal meetings of dynamic and critical thinkers not interested largely in status quo ideas from just the older generations and those hogging up the op-ed pages of main media.

The Hudsonites would not be interested either in licking the career derrières of the powers that insist on stale agendas. In fact an American ambassador in Moscow thought it a good idea to get to after hour regular spots like bars to figure out what was really going on. Bravo to him on that score. He can be an invited guest.

I would in this light like to promote a Hudson’s Club charter meaning no more that a dozen people being able to meet and who need to present in summary their views in synopsis before gaining entry.

That would involve cursory beverages and pretzels with or without televised Premier League British football with the group to see if they were beyond a Davosian bore, Wall Street banker sterility or even the siren distraction of televised sports during deliberations. Sorry to sound like a spoiled sport on this.

If they are going to discuss just more or less old ideas that are too much in main media and provide no real insights from their expertise and positions in society then I will tell them to go to Davos and enjoy the three D movies and powder – snow that is.

A simple report after these Hudson Club relaxed get-together would be produced with no names just ideas and maybe a few references and my signature authenticating their origins. There could be a broad description of their current job and/or expertise. Media, academia think tanks etc could follow up or not based on tche quality of thinking and nothing else. I would rather doubt they would at least in a constructive fashion but alternative media might be more likely and other more independent idea receivers.

The beginning of such a report could go like this, for example. “The Hudson Club Moscow chapter thinks that Mr.Putin needs more security from certain special society members with deep high level global contacts than regular security as it is critical for European stability that he be maintained to prevent Russia from collapsing in these troubled geopolitical times. Given the more hostile geopolitical and domestic economic environments such thoughts deserve consideration in the immediacy.

Others disagree about Mr.Putin being key as the following in the Kremlin are considered capable of replacing him though the consensus was firmly against western negative actions towards him for the following reasons not widely published. Local regional ruthless mafias involved in certain assassinations would become more freewheeling and unchecked without the strong, no-nonsense security savvy leadership of Putin.

These groups could even become dangerous to certain western elites not just internal dissidents thereby aggravating the world order.” This is just to use an example of what Davos would never say. This is just hypothetical. I do not have the foggiest idea about security issues relating directly to Mr.Putin’s person.

In this way, this blog is but a teaser how a Hudson Club of small “cells” meeting in bars, restaurants etc could mutate to a thousand points of really useful shining new lights providing much more innovative, useful insights and practical solutions than the current drone and bore of mostly the rehashed at the Davos forum of lobbyists, self-promoters and idea regurgitates.

This also includes those using it as a camouflage to have a great social and ski party at taxpayers and shareholders expense – and then writing it off on their taxes. Yes, the rich are not like you and me…

As well it it is a good tourism promo for Switzerland though and the Kloster-Davos region. And of course a great promo to show how certain elites look like they care about the great humanitarian and social issues of our times – and of course, some do between caviar and Veuve Cliquet (sp) and even clicking German widows looking for “good” second husbands.

In that respect one can say Davos is a success. However, the Hudson Club web would be much more effective than certainly the Bilderberg Club, less easily infiltrated or crashed and with less numbers of certain elements becoming disruptive to the overall core mission.

That would be promoting through mild bonne vivantery true universal justice, sustainable peace and dynamic global change from a totality of all adult ages, genders, roles rather than exclusively the ex Goldman Sach members or paid-off cheerleaders from Brook Brothers dressed financiers. Enough said. Now where is my Brook Brothers tieI think I threw it away. Too bad as it was quite nice even if not necessary to have.

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