VIPs touch down in Davos

Fuel up the PJ (that’s a private jet, for those of you who missed Succession) and pack your best Patagonia vest because the World Economic Form’s (WEF) annual hobnob in Davos kicks off this week.

Catch up: For decades, Davos has been one of the premier settings for casual chit-chat among the global political and business elite.

  • The conference is a chance for attendees to speak candidly about the biggest issues facing the global economy away from the prying eyes of the press. (We’re just miffed we didn’t get an invite.)
  • 52 heads of state, 121 ministers (including Chrystia Freeland), and 19 central bank governors are expected to attend. Speakers will include U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and… Idris Elba?

Why it matters: This year’s Davos gathering is likely to be more of a buzzkill than past summits, as a looming global recession and war dominate the agenda. 

  • The WEF’s “Global Risks Report”, based on a survey of 1,200 government and business professionals, found that the vast majority of respondents expect a “constantly volatile” international situation over the next two years, featuring “multiple shocks” across economies and industries.
  • A fifth of respondents expect “catastrophic outcomes” over the next decade.

Zoom out: Davos has traditionally been a forum to promote globalization (and address some of the challenges that go along with it), but with much of the Western world looking for ways to reduce dependence on relatively fragile global supply chains and boost domestic production of key goods, the purpose of the meeting may soon need a rethink.