…at a company that went bankrupt on Friday. Other analogies come to mind: an emergency meeting of the damage-control committee on the Titanic. A meeting of parasites as the sick animal host walks away following a dose of antibiotics.
The participants at Davos stare across the table at each other, carrying out their agenda in robot-like fashion, but knowing full well the reality of the situation they now face. They’re irrelevant – vestiges of a failed experiment staggering along in a zombie-like state.
As reported in this Reuters article, their agenda has taken on a new theme. They’re suddenly, but disingenuously, interested in the fate of American workers who’ve been left behind by their globalization regime:
The titles of the discussion panels at the WEF, which runs from Jan. 17-20, evoke the unsettling new landscape. Among them are “Squeezed and Angry: How to Fix the Middle Class Crisis”, “Politics of Fear or Rebellion of the Forgotten?”, “Tolerance at the Tipping Point?” and “The Post-EU Era”.
This morning, the meeting opened with an address by Chinese president Xi Jinping, in which he declared that “no one will emerge as a winner in a trade war.” It’s ironic that the biggest winner in today’s trade war (and make no mistake, that’s exactly what we’ve been in for decades) would lecture the biggest loser – the U.S. It’s no different than if Japan’s Emperor Hirohito had lectured America about standing up for itself in the wake of Pearl Harbor.
He went on to denounce “protectionism,” conveniently ignoring the vast network of protectionist measures employed by his own country. Like all participants at the Davos forum, Xi likes to forget that the enforced flow of jobs from America to China and other nations unable to grapple with their bloated labor forces, denying America the ability to engage in trade deals that are mutually beneficial – is a rigged system that it has dubbed as “free trade.” And it decries the freedom to operate our economy as we see fit as “protectionism.”
The winners in the World Trade Organization-enforced regime, China being the biggest winner, frequently declare that trade deficits don’t matter. If that’s true, then they shouldn’t mind taking their turn at it. Your turn, China. It’s time for you to relinquish your trade surplus with the U.S. and suffer a deficit for a while. Then let’s see how you feel.