Davos man n.// member of the global billionaire class that controls the majority of the world’s wealth. A rare and dangerous predator who attacks without restraint and seizing the nourishment of others – while he deftly assumes the guise of empathy and generosity, killing his prey into submission. –Peter S. Goodman

By Roger Childs

The World Economic Forum

The full title of Peter S Goodman’s book is “Davos Man: How the Billionaires Devoured the World.” It was published in 2022. Davos is located in the Swiss Alps and it is here that the highly influential World Economic Forum (WEF) meets annually. The rather shadowy but very powerful organization was founded in 1971 by German Klaus Schwab and his wife Hilde. He was an engineer who later became an economist. The organization was first called the European Management Forum and gathered together business people, government officials and academics to discuss how they could take advantage of the contemporary world for their own benefit.

It morphed into the WEF and its first major meeting attracted 450 influential people. Over the years it has had sessions in many countries, but Davos is “home turf” and it is here that a key conference is held each year. The rich and famous attend and, increasingly, world leaders have been drawn to the Swiss town. Donald Trump had spoken, as has Chinese President Xi Jinping. The billionaires find it very useful to meet up with presidents, prime ministers and dictators so that they can devise strategies for infiltrating national economies to invest, manipulate and make money.

The WEF’s mission has the grandiose title of Improving the State of the World and many of the sessions at Davos are about raising living standards and providing better working conditions for employees. However much of what the organization claims is a charade. Making money and controlling the world’s wealth are the key unstated aims. 

The rich and selfish billionaire class

The Davos men fundamentally want to make as much money as they can while paying as little tax as possible. They are parasites on the World’s economic body. 

In his book Goodman focuses on five of the richest men on the planet:

  • Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame who is the wealthiest man on Earth
  • Stephen Schwarzman head of the equity giant Blackstone
  • Larry Fink the world’s largest asset manager
  • Jamie Dimon the CEO of  JP Morgan Chase — America’s largest bank
  • Marc Benioff tech entrepreneur and founder of Salesforce.
Bezos of Amazon

Goodman covers their business background and their steady accumulation of wealth manipulating stock exchanges and tapping into pension funds, social security schemes, medical insurance programmes, private equity funds and government financial initiatives. These strategies summed up as “shareholder capitalism” have generally been to the detriment of national economies and the living standards of other people. 

Davos Man also provides fascinating detail of the role of “Davos Man” in damaging the economies of Italy, France and Sweden, and their crucial role in Britain’s Brexit campaign. 

During the 2020-2022 coronavirus pandemic, their approach was typical of their traditional modus operandi, absolutely ruthless. They exploited shortages of safety equipment, vaccines and supplies to increase their assets with no concern for who got hurt in the process. 

Normal people

Goodman also includes interesting case studies of people from the other side of the tracks who have suffered from “Davos Man” accumulating his billions – a former steelworker in Middle America, a doctor in Seattle, an African immigrant in Sweden and others.

In his last section he looks at how governments have tried to reign in “Davos Man”, and at how some communities, like Preston in England, have rejected the billionaires and focused on using local assets, financiers, designers, tradesmen and workers to achieve their goals. He also looks at alternatives for countries to raise money and living standards like the “basic income” and the wealth tax.

A great read

The author has done a huge amount of research and this 412-page book is fast-paced and highly interesting. Author Evan Osnos observes: Deliciously rich with searing detail, the clarity is reminiscent of Tom Wolfe let loose in the Alps in search of hypocrisy and vanities.

Peter S. Goodman is the New York Times global economics correspondent.

This is definitely a book that anyone concerned about the economic and social future of the world should read.

A relevant video: https://www.facebook.com/paul.baroniii.3/videos/701648764785195/