Every year since 1971 the world’s elite have gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. What started as a small conference about management has ballooned into a famously exclusive gathering of business people, academics, and government officials.
The stated goals of the non-profit World Economic Forum are noble: the conference is organized around the principle that business leaders should work with leaders of government to address the world’s problems.
But for many, the problem with Davos is rooted in exactly that premise. Critics point out that it’s big corporations, and their wealthy CEOs, that have lobbied for years against higher taxation of corporate profits and better regulation. While some of the world’s wealthiest have become advocates against the policies that some say let them accumulate their billions, critics allege that many are in Davos to simply pay lip service to solving issues like growing inequality or climate change.
VICE News traveled to Switzerland to try and understand what really happens in Davos.
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