What a weird world and what a funny part of it to choose for a forum on the future of the world. The World Economic Forum summit on the Global Agenda is located in a group of hotels by the beach in Dubai.
It is my first time in the United Arab Emirates where the Internet and much other media is subject to censorship, although generally things are pretty relaxed. Imagine Vegas without the Country music and gambling.
The WEF summit brings together hundreds of people from different sectors from around the world. Our hotel and flights are paid for by WEF and the government of Dubai. WEF is, of course, a pretty market-orientated organisation and somewhat American dominated. But there are plenty of academics and non-profits as well as lawyers and lobbyists.
THe more serious accusation against WEF was that it turned into a cocktail party for high-rolling political back-scratching rather than a place where people worked to ‘improve the state of the world’. The organisers admit this and claim that in the wake of the economic crunch they are going to get back to basics.
I am on the Future of Media panel but to be honest we journalists are all more interested in other people’s discussions.
So imagine how annoyed Craig Copetas from Bloomberg News was when he was thrown out of the Financial Systems meeting – he was told that some of the members of that group were ‘uncomfortable’ with his presence.
I guess that shows how reality sometimes gets excluded from these kinds of gatherings.