Would you pay $43 for this hotdog?

The Davos hosts want you to refuse their expensive hospitality. They want you to leave. This junket isn’t meant for you.

It isn’t just about the Swiss gouging the rich and powerful people attending a high-profile economic summit at Davos, Switzerland, this week although that’s part of it. The Swiss have long been adept at milking the world’s upper crust by selling them status-symbol watches and hiding their money for them. Charging the world’s richest and most powerful politicians, bankers, and businessmen 43 bucks for a hotdog is, shall we say, consistent with their temperament and predilections. The one-percenters don’t mind; they’re on expense accounts, and price-gouging by their hosts helps run the journalists out of town.

Something about Davos grates on our sensibilities. It’s undemocratic; you or I can’t get tickets, and if we could, we couldn’t afford the lodgings and meals. It’s ostentatious; a fleet of 1,700 private jets and government aircraft shuttled the attendees there, and none of them had to put up with airport security or coach seating or crowded overhead bins on the long flights over the oceans.  It’s a ritzy ski resort, and they’re having a great time that you and I could only dream about. But what really sticks in my craw is they’re deciding our economic fate, in ways that benefit their self-interest, and we have no say about it.

Globalization, offshoring, job destruction, tax policies, and the looting of the middle and working classes originate in Davos meeting rooms. You and I didn’t elect most of these people, but they’re running (and ruining) our lives. What’s especially grating is they’re having a very good time while doing it, and we’ll ultimately pay the bills they’re running up this week as taxpayers, shareholders, and consumers. The whole thing reeks.

Technically the Davos gathering is a private affair, sponsored by a private group, and public policy isn’t being made there. But let’s not kid ourselves about what’s going on. Presidents and CEOs are rubbing elbows and deciding the fate of billions of people over drinks, and you and I are disinvited to participate in those discussions. And anyone who thinks they’re watching out for our interests, or that any good for us will come out of these meetings, is hallucinating.

As for the $43 hotdog, I hope they choke on it.


Photo credit: CNBC


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