The mood at this year’s WEF in Davos is gloomy, the weather is wet and cold, fog is wafting through the village streets. One is tempted to think that it couldn’t get any darker – until you attend the traditional dinner with investor legend George Soros (91). Nothing less than the end of the world is on the menu here. “Our civilization is in danger of disappearing,” warns Soros.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine could be the start of World War III.” The attack shook Europe to its foundations. Even if the fighting eventually stops, the world will never be the same again.
All other problems suppressed
Dramatic words from the successful hedge fund manager who works with his Open Society Foundation to preserve open societies. Soros knows what he’s talking about, as the Hungarian-born Jew was persecuted by the Nazis as well as the communists. Today, above all, China and Russia are the greatest threats to open societies.
The big problem: the war in Ukraine and the struggle between open and closed – authoritarian – societies are pushing out all the other worries and needs of mankind. The fight against pandemics and climate change, the prevention of a nuclear war or the maintenance of functioning international institutions take a back seat to this battle of systems. Therefore it is possible that our civilization could not survive.
Harsh criticism of Merkel
With the help of social media and artificial intelligence in particular, China has succeeded in establishing an authoritarian surveillance state. The two “dictators” Xi Jinping (68) and Vladimir Putin (69) announced cooperation “without borders” at the Olympic Games in February. That doesn’t bode well.
Soros is harsh on the former Chancellor Angela Merkel (67), who has made Germany dependent on Russian energy supplies through special agreements and has made China the largest German export market. Germany is now paying a high price for this. On the other hand, there is praise for other Germans: for Chancellor Olaf Scholz (63), for example, who always does the right thing in the end. Or for EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (63), who, after a hesitant start, managed to get Europe to speak with one voice.
Soros’ conclusion on this gloomy evening: “We must do everything in our power to ensure that the war ends. The best and maybe only way to save our civilization is to defeat Putin as soon as possible.” Because this is the only way that the world can turn its attention to all the other urgent problems.
World Economic Forum 2022 in Davos