Thursday, January 24, 2008
I am afflicted by little darts of nostalgia every time the World Economic Forum at Davos comes around. I was a 'fellow' of the WEF for a couple of years in the nineties. I think it was some kind of bureaucratic error and they actually wanted Sir Bryan Appleyard, chairman of Gigantico Inc, Warden of All Souls and author of Golgotha: a Triptychal Vision of Humanity at the Crossroads, the greatest novel of our time. But they got me. It was a riot. One high point was laughing so much with the Balkan expert Misha Glenny that we both fell backwards in our chairs and were immediately photographed on the floor, still laughing. I never saw that picture. The first time he met me Klaus Schwab, who runs the show, said, 'Nice to meet you again' because, I realised, he assumes he has met everybody. The meetings - apart from the boring corporate ones - were pretty good. In those days they wanted to talk about really big ideas like the book I had just written, rather than just economics and politics. I also remember that, for some reason, I was given beef stroganoff at every lunch, but, one evening, I had the best curry of my life. The Indian government had flown it into Zurich on a 747. Really. Sadly, even though they thought I was Sir Bryan, it wasn't just for me. The primary dynamic in those days was the encounter between the rich nations and the Third World. Now, I suspect, it will be the shifting of economic power away from America towards Asia as the credit disaster unravels.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:36 am