Yes…It is that time of the year again. Tomorrow, the global elite will gather again in Davos. To get in the mood I’ve assembled some remarkable quotes on the Word Economic Forum.

Peter L. Berger on globalisation:

Arguably the most important elite vehicle is the Davos culture, an international culture of business and political leaders. Its basic engine is international business, the same engine that drives economic and technological globalization. But it would be misleading to think of this culture only in terms of those few likely to be invited to Davos; there are millions who would like to be invited and who engage in what sociologists have nicely called “anticipatory socialization.” (in: Many Globalizations, OUP 2002)

Ben Verwaayen, CEO BT Group:

Only at Davos can you talk to people from every walk of life about arts, politics, business and culture on a completely equal footing. And that is the key to the WEF. Everyone who attends is equal, from a world leader to a humble businessman. It gives us access to an environment in which we can discuss global challenges in an informal, open and honest way, and no single opinion is counted as more important than any other, and no subject is off-limits.

Andrew Gowers (Sunday Times Business Section)

What do you get if you take an Alpine resort, populate it for up to a week with more than 2,000 politicians and pundits, business leaders and lobbyists, celebrities and social activists, ply them with mountains of food and oceans of drink, and ask them to come up with recipes for saving the planet?

  • A penetrating response to the problems and dilemmas raised by globalisation;
  • A world-class, all-expenses-paid skiing opportunity;
  • A chance to fill your boots with business deals while easing your social conscience;
  • Enough hot air to melt the slopes.

Hollywood stars determined to make poverty history mingle in the snow with obscure clerics from the tamer sects of the Middle East. Sharon Stone discusses African orgasms with the chairman of Microsoft. What is hard to take is the pervading sense of flatulent self-importance. Participants – 66% male, 41% in their fifties and 70% from Europe and North America, according to a survey at last year’s meeting – just glow as they are told every five minutes that what they say or do in Davos matters for the future of the world.

Bruce Nussbaum of Businessweek (subscription only): Davos Will Be Different; Innovation is the new byword, and India has grabbed top billing from China

Previously, discussion at the World Economic Forum revolved around two main economic themes: outsourcing and China. This year innovation replaces outsourcing and India replaces China in the dialogue. This year there are an unprecedented 22 sessions under the theme of “Innovation, Creativity, and Design Strategy.” There is a special series of six workshops just for CEOs. They include “Building a Culture of Innovation,” “What Creativity Can Do For You,” “A World Without Intellectual Property,” and “Making Innovation Real.” And there are larger sessions on such topics as “Prepping for the Creative Economy.” Tellingly, the main discussion on outsourcing will come in a panel examining the outsourcing of innovation.

And then Nussbaum writes that he will moderate one of the sessions in the WEF Programme. The title of the session? “Prepping for the Post-Knowledge Economy”

The post-WEF2006 era will start the 30th of January…

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