Davos Alternative Reading List

20 January 2020

This corporate schmooze-fest takes place every year, making grand pronouncements on the state of the world and treated with reverence by political elites and disdain by most progressive movements. But is it more than an elite talking shop? This reading list explores some of the agendas and ethos underlying the World Economic Forum.


World Economic Forum: A History and Analysis
 (Andrew Marshall) An analysis of how Davos has been the spawning ground for neoliberalism's major advances - the rise of the financial sector, the spread of corporate trade agreements and the integration of emerging economic powers into the global economy.

The Davos Class
 (Susan George) How the Davos class not only meets in Switzerland but exist and dominate politics everywhere.

Davos Class
 Infographic looking at the 2016 Board of the World Economic Forum and their track record in terms of corporate (mis)behaviour

Davos: where journalism is PR and change is consumer choice
 (Markus Giesler) analyses language and communications to show how World Economic Forum reframes rather than solves social and ecological problems.

The rise of the right-wing globalists   (Quinn Slobodian) The World Economic Forum showed how the right is seizing the levers of the international order.

Shadow Sovereigns: How global corporations are seizing power
(Susan George) Book on the range of corporate takeover of governance, from investment tribuntals to the Davos Global Redesign Initiative.

 The global corporate elite and the transnational policy-planning network, 1996-2006: A structural  analysis (Carroll and Sapinski)  A network analysis of elite interlocks among the world’s 500 largest corporations and a purposive sample of transnational policy-planning boards.

Neoliberalism and the transnational capitalist class (Carroll and Sapinski)   Origins of neoliberalism as ideology of a class-for-itself, defining and pursuing its interests within a more transnationalized political field.

The Corporate Elite Community Structure of Global Capitalism (Heemskerk and Takes) What is the community structure of the global corporate elite? We analyse how the largest one million firms in the world are interconnected at the level of corporate governance through interlocking directorates.

Transnational Corruption and the Globalized Individual  (Cooley and Sharman )  Wealthy,  politically powerful individuals on the margins of the law are  increasingly globalized... These trends  are evidenced by an analysis of the main components of the relevant  transnational networks: banks, shell companies, foreign real estate, and  investor citizenship programs,

Global Actors: Networks, Elites, Institutions (Madsen & Christensen)   Who is driving globalization?  Global institutions such as the WTO?; communities of experts providing technocratic solutions; transnational networks of activists; or is it powerful individuals forming transnational elites taking the fate of the global society in their hands at a safe distance from ordinary politics in places such as Brussels, New York or Davos?

Dutiful dirges of Davos   Branko Milanovic’s blog:  “Thousands of people will gather next week in Davos.,,,what would be one of the principal topics addressed by these captains of industry, billionaires, employers of thousands of people across the four corners of the globe: inequality…

Trump is on trial for abuse of power – the Davos elites should be in the dock too (Robert Reich)  While the Senate mulls his fate, the president plans to speak to world economic leaders every bit as impeachable as him

POLITICO Davos Playbook  Sponsored by Goldman Sachs, this a nonetheless useful "daily guide to life on the world’s most elite mountain"

On Davos Manifesto

Has the era of the ethical corporation arrived?
 (Nick Buxton) Critical analysis of the Davos Manifesto released in November 2019 that outlines what an ethical corporation looks like.


Approach to Global Governance

Multistakeholderism: a  corporate push for a new form of global governance
 (Harris Gleckman) Analysis of the WEF’s Global Redesign Initiative.


UN-WEF Strategic Partnership Agreement

UN signs deal with Davos that threatens democratic principles
 (Harris Gleckman) Analysis of the UN-WEF Strategic Partnership agreement

Hundreds of Civil Society Organizations denounce WEF’s takeover of the UN
 News release on open letter sent by 500 organisation to the UN Secretary General denouncing the UN-WEF strategic partnership agreement signed in August 2019

The UN is being turned into a public-private partnership (Youtube)
 (GPENewsDocs/Open Democracy) Interview with Harris Gleckman by Lynn Fries


(Last edited on 20 January 2020)