National Security & Defense

$43 Hot Dogs, and Other Davos Ridiculousness

The ultra-rich alpine assembly in Davos, Switzerland, enters its final day on Saturday, giving the jet-setting elite only 24 hours more to express concerns for the world’s poor and marginalized in between their helicopter rides, ski jumps, and spa treatments.

The whole concept of the World Economic Forum, where the globe’s wealthiest and most important citizens meet in a kind of billionaire Disneyland, may seem like a joke on its face. But this year, five aspects of Davos stand out as particularly egregious for a summit that’s recently attempted to highlight global equality and climate change.

$43 hot dogs.

Yes, a sausage encased in bread and garnished with some questionable-looking fried onions runs a cool $43 if you’re dining at the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère, where many Davos attendees apparently nosh. CNBC reports that a chicken Caesar salad hits $55 (it does come with parmesan cheese, though).

Some of the cost likely stems from the sudden, massive appreciation of the Swiss franc last week. But the sudden flood of well-heeled clientele into the small mountain town probably helped nudge up the price as well.

A pet store becomes a financier’s paradise.

A small pet shop five minutes from the center of the gathering undergoes a magical transformation in early January. The dogs and cats are crated out, droppings and wood shavings are swept up, and international megabank Barclays comes swooping in. BizNews editor Alec Hogg reports that the bank pulls out all the stops, turning the place into a lounge for clients eager to take a load off after a hard day of caring so much about other people’s problems.

Other businesses on prime real estate are bought out entirely – like an old audio-equipment store, replaced by aircraft and limousine operator Top Alliance. The company only operates the office for one month, while Davos attendees are in town. It sits empty for the rest of the year.

1,700 private jets.

“On the heels of data showing that last year was the hottest on earth since record keeping began, business leaders, politicians and scientists at the World Economic Forum redoubled their calls to combat climate change,” read Friday’s New York Times. Those business leaders, politicians and scientists so concerned with the warming affect of carbon emissions will be traveling home from Switzerland on a record 1,700 private jets.

It’s the highest number of personal planes ever to descend on the town, forcing the Swiss air force to set up a military base expressly to deal with all the extra aircraft. And those planes don’t run on rainwater — good ol’ petroleum powers all those Gulfstreams, producing tons of the very carbon dioxide the Davos attendees want everyone else to stop consuming.

Where are all the women?

The Twitterverse gushed on Friday over Harry Potter star Emma Watson’s speech decrying the underrepresentation of women in important fields worldwide. “Women share this planet 50/50 and they are under-represented, their potential astonishingly untapped,” she said. But at Davos 2015, women attendees make up just 17 percent of the conference. That meant 83 percent of people at Wednesday’s “From Problem to Progress” forum — where attendees discussed “what gaps must be closed to make this the century of gender equality” — were men.

The irony wasn’t lost on some, with one guy telling BuzzFeed he was “embarrassed” and another claiming there are “too many of us.” Of course, all the social-justice aristocrats didn’t have to show up at such an egregiously sexist gathering, either.

Openness for thee, but not for me.

This year’s Davos conference sough to open up the forum to leaders traditionally excluded from the Western-centric gathering.

Invitations were accordingly made to Chinese premier Li Keqiang and Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who were asked to opine on the problems facing people in other countries — but apparently not their own. Foreign Policy editor David Rothkopf reports that the two leaders “offered canned remarks and were fed softball questions from moderators that neatly sidestepped the toughest problems they face at home — and where, in the spirit of their governments’ attitudes toward a free press, questions from the audience were forbidden.” Such “fauxpenness,” he added, was “not the exception but the rule” in Davos.

— Brendan Bordelon is an editorial associate at National Review.

Most Popular

Culture

What We’ve Learned about Jussie Smollett

It’s been a few weeks since March 26, when all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and the actor declared that his version of events had been proven correct. How’s that going? Smollett’s celebrity defenders have gone quiet. His publicists and lawyers are dodging reporters. The @StandwithJussie ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Lessons of the Mueller Probe

Editor’s Note: The following is the written testimony submitted by Mr. McCarthy in connection with a hearing earlier today before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on the Mueller Report (specifically, the first volume of the report, which addresses Russia’s interference in the 2016 ... Read More
Elections

Kamala Harris Runs for Queen

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the 2020 presidential contest: Unless unforeseen circumstances lead to a true wave election, the legislative stakes will be extremely low. The odds are heavily stacked against Democrats’ retaking the Senate, and that means that even if a Democrat wins the White House, ... Read More
World

Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election, and the “yellow vests” protests in France? What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment? What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and ... Read More
Energy & Environment

The Climate Trap for Democrats

The more the climate debate changes, the more it stays the same. Polls show that the public is worried about climate change, but that doesn’t mean that it is any more ready to bear any burden or pay any price to combat it. If President Donald Trump claws his way to victory again in Pennsylvania and the ... Read More
White House

Sarah Sanders to Resign at End of June

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will resign from her position as White House press secretary at the end of the month, President Trump announced on Twitter Thursday afternoon. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1139263782142787585 Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, succeeded Sean ... Read More
Politics & Policy

But Why Is Guatemala Hungry?

I really, really don’t want to be on the “Nicolas Kristof Wrote Something Dumb” beat, but, Jiminy Cricket! Kristof has taken a trip to Guatemala, with a young woman from Arizona State University in tow. “My annual win-a-trip journey,” he writes. Reporting from Guatemala, he discovers that many ... Read More