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Encyclopedia > World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Geneva-based foundation whose annual meeting of top business leaders, national political leaders (presidents, prime ministers and others), and selected intellectuals and journalists is usually held in Davos, Switzerland. There are also regional meetings throughout the year. It was founded in 1971 by Klaus M. Schwab, a business professor in Switzerland. Geneva (pronunciation //; French: Genève //, German:   //, Italian: Ginevra //, Romansh: Genevra) is the second most populous city in Switzerland (after Zürich), and is the most populous city of Romandy (the French-speaking part of Switzerland). ... Davos viewed from air Davos is a town in eastern Switzerland, in the canton of Graubünden, on the Landwasser River. ... 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday. ... Klaus Schwab is a Swiss philanthropist and businessman, best known as the president and founder of the World Economic Forum. ...

Contents

Operations

According to its supporters, the World Economic Forum is an ideal place for dialogue and debate about the major social and economic problems of the planet because: representatives of both the most powerful economic organisations and the most powerful political organisations are present; intellectuals also participate; and there is a generally informal atmosphere encouraging wide-ranging debate. Journalists have access to every session at the Annual Meeting in Davos and the majority of sessions are webcast live so that the debates can be open to a wider public. In all about 600 journalists from print, radio and TV take part in the meeting. Whilst business and political leaders make up the majority of participants, NGO leaders from groups such as Amnesty International, Transparency International, Oxfam and various UN organisations attend, as well as trades union leaders and religious leaders.

This article has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality.
Discussion of this nomination can be found on the talk page.

According to its critics, the World Economic Forum is really just a business forum, where the richest businesses can easily negotiate deals with one another and lobby the world's most powerful politicians, and that the aim is profit-making rather than solving economic problems such as poverty. It has also been criticized as an elitist forum for circumventing democratic politics, and for encouraging non-transparent, secretive decision-making. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Elitism is a belief or attitude that an elite — a selected group of persons whose personal abilities, specialized training or other attributes place them at the top of any field (see below) — are the people whose views on a matter are to be taken most seriously, or who are alone... Democracy is a form of government under which the power to alter the laws and structures of government lies, ultimately, with the citizenry. ... Radical transparency is a management method where nearly all decision making is carried out publicly. ...


Geographic balance

The WEF's membership, the membership of its board, and the attendance at its annual meetings is heavily composed of representatives from Europe, the USA and industrialized Asia. World map showing the location of Europe. ...


The main 1,000 member companies are invited to the WEF based on annual revenues of over $1 billion (as of 2002). (This has led to claims that companies from poorer countries are inevitably under-represented. The WEF claims that 200 companies, mainly from the developing world, are invited to join the WEF membership and events.) 2002 is a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In the 2002 WEF Annual Meeting, 75% of participants were from Europe (39%) and the US (36%), which together represented approximately 17% of the world's population. West Asian participants were about five times over-represented relative to their population, i.e. they constituted 4% of participants while representing 0.8% of the world's population. For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... World map showing the location of Europe. ... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... A map showing Southwest Asia - The term Middle East is more often used to refer to both Southwest Asia and some North African countries Southwest Asia, or West Asia, is the southwestern part of Asia. ...


While 60% of the world's population live in Asia (as of 2002), about 7.7% of the participants at the 2002 Annual Meeting were Asian. World map showing the location of Asia. ... 2002 is a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ...


Gender balance

Until 2001, the main World Economic Forum decision making boards - the Forum Board of Directors and the Council Board of Directors - were 100% male. Of the nine new members in 2001, only one was female. In 2001 the World Economic Forum started its 'Women Leaders Program' with the stated aim of increasing the participation of women in WEF activities and involving them as members in World Economic Forum communities. From 2001 to 2004 the WEF estimates that it has increased the participation of women leaders in the Annual Meeting from 8 to 13%. Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Decision making is the cognitive process of selecting a course of action from among multiple alternatives. ... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... shelby was here 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Participation by politicians

In 2000, 33 national leaders attended the Annual Meeting, including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, King Abdullah Il Ibn Hussein of Jordan, Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, Aleksander Kwasniewski former president of Poland, South African president Thabo Mbeki and Argentinian president Fernando de la Rua. In 2002, 27 elected national leaders, three members of royalty, nine US senators and nine members of the US House of Representatives were expected to attend. 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... William Jefferson Bill Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III[1] on August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. ... For other people of the same name, see Tony Blair (disambiguation) Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born May 6, 1953)[1] is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, Leader of the Labour Party, and Member of Parliament for the constituency... King Abdullah and Queen Rania King Abdullah appears here at a summit in Mexico. ... Abdurrahman Wahid (also known as Gus Dur) (born August 4, 1940) was the President of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001, and founder of the National Awakening Party (PKB). ... Term of office from December 23, 1995 until Incumbent Profession Journalist Political party SLD First Lady Jolanta Kwaśniewska Date of birth November 15, 1954 Place of birth Białogard, Poland Date of death Place of death Aleksander Kwaśniewski (pronounced: [alεksandεr... Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki (born June 18, 1942) is the President of the Republic of South Africa. ... Motto En unión y libertad(Spanish) In Union and Freedom Anthem Himno Nacional Argentino Capital (and largest city) Buenos Aires Official languages Spanish Government Federal republic  -  President Néstor Kirchner  -  Vice President Daniel Scioli Independence from Spain   -  May Revolution 25 May 1810   -  Declared 9 July 1816   -  Recognized 1821 (by... Categories: People stubs | 1937 births | Presidents of Argentina ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from...


Membership fees

As of 2002, each member company pays a basic annual membership fee of $12,500 and a $6,250 Annual Meeting fee. However, to take part in deciding the agendas of the Annual Meeting and the regional meetings a company must pay $250,000 a year to be an Institutional Partner and/or Knowledge Partner, and $78,000 to be an Annual Meeting Partner. The WEF describes the selection of Partners as being based on ability to contribute to and benefit from the mission of the Forum. For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ...


WEF's income in 2001 was $104 million. $38 million of this was from membership fees. Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Media access

At any Annual Meeting or regional meeting of the World Economic Forum, journalists participate in most of the formally scheduled panels and events. Indeed, a large proportion of journalists (250 at the Annual Meeting in Davos) are given complete access to every session organized by the Forum, having the same access rights as any of the paying participants. However, they are excluded from the many private and informal industry-wide workshops and meetings between corporate executives, political leaders and leaders of international financial institutions. Since these informal private meetings - not organized by the World Economic Forum - happen without access either by the mainstream media or authorisation by national parliaments, critics consider them to be undemocratic in nature. The Global Financial System refers to those financial institutions and regulations that act on the international level, as opposed to those that act on a national or regional level. ... Mass media is the term used to denote, as a class, that section of the media specifically conceived and designed to reach a very large audience (typically at least as large as the whole population of a nation state). ... A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modelled after that of the United Kingdom. ...


Participation by NGOs

The WEF has attempted to create dialogue with critics by inviting representatives of NGOs to participate in Annual Meetings. The term non-governmental organization (NGO) is used in a variety of ways all over the world and, depending on the context in which it is used, can refer to many different types of organizations. ...


In the 2000 Annual Meeting, participating NGOs included: 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

In the 2001 Annual Meeting, while most of these NGOs were invited again, Friends of the Earth and Focus on the Global South were not invited. Critics claim that these two NGOs were not invited in 2001 because their criticisms were too strong and clear. Save the Children Logo Save the Children is an international non-profit organization dedicated to working for children. ... Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty or AI) is a pressure group that promotes human rights. ... The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization for the conservation, research and restoration of the natural environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in the United States and Canada. ... Transparency International (TI) is an international organisation addressing corruption, including, but not limited to, political corruption. ... Oxfam International is an international confederation of 13 independent non-governmental organisations founded in 1995 and dedicated to fighting poverty and related injustice around the world. ... Friends of the Earth is an international network of environmental organizations in 70 countries. ... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Friends of the Earth is an international network of environmental organizations in 70 countries. ... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In 2001, other NGOs were invited, including those from poor countries: Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

and from rich countries, such as: Martin Khor (born 1951 in Penang, Malaysia) is a journalist, economist and Director of the Third World Network which is based in Penang, Malaysia. ... An image of Third World Resurgence, the flagship magazine of Third World Network The Third World Network is an international network of organizations and individuals involved in issues relating to environment, development and the Third World and North-South issues. ... Vandana Shiva (b. ...

However, none of these were invited back in 2002. According to critics such as the Financial Times, "the Forum says it is not inviting organizations that contribute only negative views and do not support its "mission" to narrow global divisions". Public Citizen is a U.S. non-governmental organization, founded by Ralph Nader in 1971 and based in Washington, DC. Its activities span across a diverse range of issues, including energy policy, trade policy, campaign finance reform and accountability, consumer protection, medical malpractice, and public health. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... The Financial Times (FT) is an international business newspaper printed on distinctive salmon pink broadsheet paper. ...


Greenpeace spent two years trying to cooperate with the WEF on the issue of global warming, but withdrew from the 2002 Annual Meeting because it found the WEF uncooperative. In a letter to Greenpeace, Klaus M. Schwab responded that the demands made by Greenpeace to the automobile industry at the 2001 meeting "led to problems". Greenpeace protest against Esso / Exxon Mobil. ... Global mean surface temperatures 1850 to 2006 Mean surface temperature anomalies during the period 1995 to 2004 with respect to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 Global warming is the observed increase in the average temperature of the Earths atmosphere and oceans in recent decades and the projected... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... Greenpeace protest against Esso / Exxon Mobil. ... Klaus Schwab is a Swiss philanthropist and businessman, best known as the president and founder of the World Economic Forum. ... Automakers are companies that produce automobiles. ... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Criticism

The neutrality of this article or section is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.

While once thought of as a serious endeavor, the WEF has been increasingly criticized by economists for moving away from serious economics and instead becoming a large media circus that lets celebrities and politicians have feel-good discussions on a panoply of political causes while accomplishing little of substance. For example, many question the extensive involvement of NGOs that have little or no expertise in economics. Instead of a discussion on the world economy with knowledgable experts alongside key business and political players, Davos now features the top media political causes of the day (such as global climate change and AIDS in Africa), with participants such as U2 rock star Bono. The second type of discussion has its place (and the issues are important), but calling it a World Economic Forum is a misnomer in the eyes of some critics. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... This article is about the Irish rock band. ... Paul David Hewson, KBE[1] (born 10 May 1960), known as Bono (IPA pronunciation: ), is the Academy Award nominated and Grammy winning lead singer and principal lyricist of the Irish rock band U2. ...


Other criticisms include:

  • that the WEF costs the state millions a year to guarantee safety against protesters, criminals and terrorist threats (as a private happening, the WEF should bear its safety costs itself)
  • Davos and its surroundings are a military security zone during the WEF: the right to congregate is cut drastically
  • that the total costs of US$60 million would be better invested in actual development aid
  • that the WEF as a forum - many statesmen meet each other - is not democratically legitimated, but important decisions are made nonetheless
  • only a very small part of the people at the WEF are actually from developing countries, and the role of NGO is minimal

World Economic Forum responses to critics

At the 2001 Annual Meeting, the Swiss Authorities spent $5.4 million on security. In the 2001 Annual Report, Klaus M. Schwab compared the threat of violent anti-globalization protestors to the threat of terrorists. Some critics judge that these type of reactions amount to a refusal to accept and respond to the criticism, however the Forum has always made it clear that is happy to engage with peaceful critics, indeed there have been a number of dialogues with groups from the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre and the Open Forum was started to help foster this dialogue. Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Klaus Schwab is a Swiss philanthropist and businessman, best known as the president and founder of the World Economic Forum. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Terrorist redirects here. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Nickname: Coordinates: Country Brazil Region South State Rio Grande do Sul Government  - Mayor José Fogaça (PPS) Area  - City 496. ...


The World Economic Forum claims that it wishes to open up dialogue with critics. Starting during the 2003 Annual Meeting in January in Davos, an Open Forum Davos 2003 was held in parallel with the main Annual Meeting. The Open Forum was attended by 300 members of the public free of charge, and the World Economic Forum hosted the Open Forum again in 2004, 2005 and 2006. 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Davos viewed from air Davos is a town in eastern Switzerland, in the canton of Graubünden, on the Landwasser River. ... shelby was here 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ...


In 2001 the World Economic Forum started a series of 'initiatives' with the purpose of engaging business in tackling problems that concern business and its critics. The World Economic Forum's portfolio of active initiatives in 2006 include corporate citizenship, global health, global governance, greenhouse gas and water. Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Corporate governance. ... The term ‘global health’ refers to a component of the wider discipline of public health which concerns itself particularly with issues which transcend the geopolitical boarders of the nation-state. ... Global governance refers to political interaction aimed at solving problems that affect more than one state or region when there is no power of enforcing compliance. ... Top: Increasing atmospheric CO2 levels as measured in the atmosphere and ice cores. ... Impact from a water drop causes an upward rebound jet surrounded by circular capillary waves. ...


Regional Meetings

The World Economic Forum holds between five and ten regional meetings per year, enabling close contact between corporate business leaders, local government leaders and NGOs. The mix of regions varies from year to year, but the meetings in Africa, China and India have been held consistently over the past decade. The European Competitiveness Summit planned for October 2003 in Dublin, was cancelled. Protestors have speculated that the Dublin meeting was cancelled because city authorities and/or WEF organisers were worried about holding the meeting in the face of protest. However, the official reason for cancellation was that a report, the European Competitiveness Report would not be ready in time for the Summit. A much larger European meeting was held in Warsaw, Poland a few months later, where the European Competitiveness Report was launched. 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... WGS-84 (GPS) Coordinates: 53. ...


Networked Readiness Index

The World Economic Forum publishes an annual report called the Networked Readiness Index. It focuses on the propensity of countries to exploit the opportunities offered by information and communications technology. It also ranks countries by number on these criteria. The World Economic Forums Networked Readiness Index (NRI) measures the propensity for countries to exploit the opportunities offered by information and communications technology. ...


Research Reports

The forum produces a number of research reports on economics:

World map of the 2006-2007 Global Competitiveness Index. ...

See also

The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (January, 2003) triggered anti-globalization protests across Switzerland. ... Anti-WEF protests in Switzerland, January 2006 Besides some Demonstration in Basel, protests were not centrally located. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Anti-WEF grafiti in Lausanne. ... Decision making is the cognitive process of selecting a course of action from among multiple alternatives. ... In the physical sciences, specifically in optics, a transparent physical object is one that can be seen through. ...

External links

  • The Official World Economic Forum Site
  • Palgrave Macmillan, official publisher of the Global Competitiveness Report
  • Davos Diary - A daily updated account of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2006 from Foreign Policy Magazine correspondent, David Rothkopf
  • The Davos Conversation - The Davos Conversation "blogregation" - promoting openness at the Annual Meeting - started in 2007

David J. Rothkopf is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, specializing in U.S. foreign policy and economic strategy. ...

Further reading

  • Public Citizen | in-depth analysis (2002)(PDF document)
  • WEF Announcements for residents (Polish)
  • Review and analysis of Global Competitiveness Report 2005-2006, "Congratulations, Prime Minister, We're Still Ranked Above Bangladesh" (Mirror site)[1]
  • Review and analysis of Global Competitiveness Report 2005-2006, "Congratulations, Prime Minister, We're Still Ranked Above Bangladesh" [2]

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format created by Adobe Systems in 1993 for desktop publishing use. ...

Critics


  Results from FactBites:
 
CorpWatch : World Economic Forum Protests Pose New Challenges for Anti-Globalization Movements (981 words)
The World Economic Forum (WEF), a cocktail party on steroids for elite business and political leaders usually held in the mountain resort of Davos, Switzerland, is set for January 31st - February 3rd.
This year, the WEF decided to move the gathering to New York City, in what it says is show of solidarity with the victims of the September 11th attacks.
Much of the corporate world would like nothing better than to see street protests turn ugly, so as to be able to dismiss the entire anti- globalization movement, say organizers.
World Economic Forum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1528 words)
The WEF's membership, the membership of its board, and the attendance at its annual meetings is heavily composed of representatives from Europe, the USA and industrialized Asia.
In 2001 the World Economic Forum started its 'Women Leaders Program' with the stated aim of increasing the participation of women in WEF activities and involving them as members in World Economic Forum communities.
At any Annual Meeting or regional meeting of the World Economic Forum journalists participate in most of the formally scheduled panels and events, they are excluded from the many informal industry-wide workshops and private meetings between corporate executives, political leaders and leaders of international financial institutions.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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