Joel BakanJul 28, 2023
The WEF is Actually Bad, But Not Like That
The Problems that aren’t Conspiracy Theories with the World Economic Forum
New Books Network 2023
The World Economic Forum has become the bugbear of the right-wing in Canada, and beyond. Conspiracies swirl about how this shadowy, globalist cabal wants us to live in pods, eat bugs, and “own nothing, but be happy.”
These may be mere conspiracy theory and faux populism, but there are many things wrong with the WEF.
On this episode, we examine the shifting political discourse surrounding our global financial elites. How can the left operate in this ideologically confusing moment?
First, we take it back to the heyday of the 90s global justice movement and revisit the Battle in Seattle. Reactionary forces were pushing an anti-globalization line against the WTO. However, the real politics there were different: it was built on global justice and global solidarity.
Then, we go to Davos and look for left-leaning protesters organizing against the WEF. Each year, there is a planned protest hike, quite far from the actual WEF site, because Swiss authorities push demonstrators away. Yet, the WEF also invites individual activists in. We learn about that push and pull.
Finally, filmmaker and documentarian Joel Bakan is well-known for his hit documentary The Corporation, which was released in 2003–not long after the Battle in Seattle. Today, he tells us the politics are completely different: corporate leaders, including those at WEF, tell us they’re actually the good guys. His new follow-up film The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel says that this new warm-and-fuzzy branding makes the corporation even more dangerous.
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