Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lack of Expertise at Davos

The New York Times has an article about theWorld Economic Forum meeting in Davos Switzerland. The power shift is noted,
This year, politicians, not corporate titans, are poised to be the big draw, echoing the broader power shift away from the free market as one government after another tries to prop up its sinking economy.
This reminds me of an argument that Socrates made (for example in the Apology and the Republic). If you want to get someone to do a service for you, you get an expert. You don't get a blacksmith to train your horses, and you don't get a horse trainer to repair your spade. Thus, having an economic forum dominated by politicians is like going to an art museum curated by a bunch accountants. Socrates, also uses this argument to object to democratically elected politicians. Namely, why have your country run by a bunch of people who's expertise is mainly in politic manipulation and winning elections? But that's another issue.

Of course, the reason so many business leaders aren't coming to the forum is because either their businesses are struggling, and so they don't quite have the credibility, or because they are working hard to keep their company successful in these crisis times, or they simply don't have the surplus money to squander on such frivolities. Since government officials don't have to worry about tightening their belts, they've got plenty of surplus money to splurge on this gala.

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