I'm a great fan of capitalism. Being able to sell what you actually own whether it be your labour or your ideas has brought the world great riches and advanced humanity no end. Ever since the first forms of barter were devised, man has flourished wherever he has tried it. Needs and wants were satisfied, science and technology boomed and poverty has been banished to the feckless and the wastrels.
So why am I unhappy about the "World Economic Forum" currently being held in Davos, Switzerland? Certainly, the likes of Bill Gates, with his philanthropic campaign to rid the world of devastating diseases that afflict the poor are admirable and more strength to his campaign but it doesn't rest easy with me that simply having vast wealth should enable an individual enormous power over his fellow man.
As the private jets vie for space on the tarmac in Geneva, our Politicians drool and fawn over the wealth generators currently assembled whilst they decide the best way to remove what little cash you have remaining in your pocket. Ah, wait. I think I've spotted the similarity.
One of the joys of being a consumer in a free market is that I have the choice to buy or decline, compare, contrast, evaluate, decide. The fact that Apple now has enough cash in the bank to buy Greece or Microsoft can eradicate Polio shows that if you create a product and give people the choice, it can make you you a great deal of money. So why are the Politicians there? Isn't this just a conference of money makers deciding how best to make some more money?
Alas, it isn't. The "World Economic Forum" has evolved into a Global Agricultural Show where the producers of farm equipment get to flog their wares and modern farming techniques to our Politicians - the shepherds and intensive livestock breeders. Call me cynical, but selling me an iPad I have the choice to decline or linking up with our Politicians to inflict your corporate vision on an electorate is not what I voted for at all and in a nutshell, that is what the WEF is all about. A quick look at their "working groups" may not yet have you reaching for the tin foil hat, but it should make you wonder what is being done in your name, without your permission.
The buzzwords are certainly there: global citizenship, global shapers, leveraging, stakeholders. Let's make no bones about this. It's about them getting richer by exerting their influence and economic power over those whom we elect. It's no coincidence that every major national leader is scurrying from workshop to workshop ingratiating themselves with billionaires, desperate to hear what plans their global corporation has for their little bit of the planet. Politicians proudly show their nations to the auction ring like a farmer parades his prize bull around the auction ring, desperate for the bidding and the nods to begin, hoping to sell the stock to the highest bidder.
If you want to witness crony capitalism, Davos is the place to do it (subject to invitation, naturally. See Lord Mandelson for entry criteria). The bankers, the moguls, the tyrants, you'll find them all here. Those actually responsible for the dire straights of our economies are currently plotting and scheming about how to get back out of this monetary cul de sac they drove the cattle trucks up with their fortunes intact. Be sure of one thing; your best interests are not at heart. They're there to evaluate how to get more productivity out of us, the farm animals, how to raise the best yields from the human crop and how to expand the fences of the farm boundaries.
Well, I'm free range. I don't acknowledge the farmer, his fields, his fences or his methods of productivity.I don't run with the herd and I'm not here to advance the profit margins of anyone. Whilst they speculate whether the Greek farm can be justified, considering the large outlay on investment by "venture capitalists", I'll be quietly chewing the cud on the common. I'll happily pop over the fence when a tasty treat is laid out but I know where all the holes in the boundary are. I'll do my very best to camouflage myself with the forest, avoid the sheep dogs, evade the herder and keep myself unlabeled, unstamped, unregistered and unbranded.
Next time you are rounded up by the farmer at a General Election, ask yourself the simple question. Am I grazing for my satisfaction or their profit? Am I being force fed to produce foie gras or am I free range? Because right now, in Davos, our Politicians are being shown your ideal weight by the very smily man from the abattoir.