Davos 2019: Parables from the Promenade

The economic mood hasn’t been so bright leading up to 2019’s World Economic Forum at Davos. We are very far along the risk curve and are left with a paucity of “alpha” to uncover, leaving the economy at its most fragile state after the unexpected Trump Rally. I often get asked where to park one’s treasury, and I can provide little input (not equities, not gold). The world today is still injured with the events of a mystical 2008 past, and the recent hit in the market leave us in weak confidence. Our collective memories and melodies are mystic not born in relation to reality, but transforms our rose-colored glasses into drenched red optics. Our recollections of overnight economic uncertainty grounded the necessity of order in this dystopian world of corporate manipulation and billionaire self-interest. Laissez-fair market rules could not uphold and preserve the American Dream — so rules were demanded and anger was warranted. In our fresh fear of inflicted and repelled injustices, we looked to authorities to punish the evildoers and to return to a safer past. This opposition of liberty versus mechanism recalls a similarities to a more violent age:

If I had to pinpoint a pattern this year at Davos, however, it wasn’t about institutions or organizations. The language has shifted significantly downstream, in the issues that we discussed and the sentences we crafted. Thematically and fortunately, many of the conversations that I was personally hearing at Davos were uniquely about the individual in the light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: namely mental health, blockchain, philanthropy, free trade. I admit this may well have been selection bias, but the thematic discussion of network power is rooted at the individual-user level. We begin to look not at institutions, but in ourselves- governance in our health and in our work. It is through these convictions that we look in the year ahead of us, with the international New Year resolutions blending into our personal objectives.

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