The great and good have convened in the small Swiss mountain town of Davos this week to discuss the state of the world at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting. Its 2023 theme is “Co-operation in a fragmented world” at a time when the world has been fragmenting and going back on globalisation. The WEF’s founder and owner, 84-year-old Klaus Schwab, will be working hard to get as many leaders of government, business and civil society as possible to talk nicely to each other to solve the world’s problems and face up to its risks.

This is the first time since before the Covid-19 pandemic that the WEF has held a full in-person meeting in its usual January slot (last year a slimmed-down version of the forum was held in Davos in May). It undoubtedly still has convening power, not only in the plenaries and formal events but even more so in the meetings and events on the sidelines...

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