Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The Davos Paradox and the Macropocalypse
You know, the irony of a "World Economic Forum" happening while the global economy melts down is a bit too rich for my palate.
And the fact that the topic is "collaboration" is like the icing on the cake.
But - unfortunately - it's not just a joke. Isn't there something (very) wrong with this picture?
Yup. It's just another example of the rot in the financial system's DNA.
In a curious paradox, the very economic logic of Davos is itself toxic: that the people who we all benefit from discussing the most economy are CEOs and other assorted megacapitalists.
But the real problem isn't horizontal communication between CEOs - it's lateral communication; that shareholders aren't able to, can't, or won't influence the behaviour of said CEOs and the resources they marshal.
See the point?
What has, ultimately, brought the global economy to it's knees is that the firm itself, and the way it's managed, is in deep - perhaps terminal - decay. No amount of chit-chat between CEOs, superstar DJs, and even more CEOs is gonna fix that; it will just accelerate the spread of the virus.
The protestors, at least in this case, aren't far off the mark.
From a very real economic point of view, Davos is a facade, a prop helping the masquerade of value creation that is the massconomy wind down to it's inevitable implosion.
We don't need self-indulgences like Davos: what we need are better mechanisms to value, price, and allocate resources, and better techniques to manage and encourage economic actors to buy into them.
So forget Davos. Don't help prop up a broken machine built on toxic logic.
If you wanna see into the future, read this instead.
Or, better yet, start shorting evil - and going long good.