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Elon Musk Lashes Out at Davos

The billionaire entrepreneur doubles down on his criticism and mockery of the World Economic Forum.
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Elon Musk has unleashed a torrent of criticism against the World Economic Forum, seemingly determined to shake up the gathering of political and economic elites. 

The forum is traditionally held every year in January in the ski resort of Davos, Switzerland, though it was suspended for the covid-19 pandemic.

A few days before the forum opened, Musk said he'd been invited but had turned down the invite.

"I was invited to WEF, but declined," the billionaire said on Dec. 24.

Musk's First Salvo Against the Forum

This revelation was a snub to the Davos Forum, which is considered the world's most powerful club. Business and political wannabes dream of being invited. An invitation or a guest pass to Davos is considered an entry ticket to the world elite.

The 2023 edition, which opened on Jan. 16, brought together 52 heads of state and government and nearly 600 CEOs, including JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon and BlackRock's Larry Fink.

"My reason for declining the Davos invitation was not because I thought they were engaged in diabolical scheming, but because it sounded boring," Musk explained on Dec. 31.

One therefore might have expected him to ignore the forum, what is said there and what emerges from it. Quite the opposite: In recent days Musk has launched attacks on and mockery of the convention.

He seems to have joined the ranks of the anti-globalists, on the extreme left and extreme right, who in recent years have redoubled their opposition to the forum. They consider it an assembly of elites disconnected from the reality of the world.

"I guess there’s value to having a mixed government & commercial forum of some kind," the billionaire said on Jan. 15. "WEF does kinda give me the willies though, but I’m sure everything is fine 👀."

If the Techno King, his title at Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report, recognizes the need to have a space or a forum where the private sector and the governments can engage, he seems to think that the World Economic Forum is not the right frame.

'Master the Future': WEF Founder Schwab

The next day, on Jan. 16, Musk alternated jokes at the expense of the WEF and scathing criticism of the group. 

He wondered in particular about the message of Klaus Schwab, the founder of the WEF, urging the participants of the 2023 edition to "master the future" in the face of the challenges currently facing the world, a message delivered during his welcome speech.

"'Master the Future' doesn’t sound ominous at all," the billionaire said sarcastically. "How is WEF/Davos even a thing? Are they trying to be the boss of Earth!?"

Earlier, Christopher Rufo, senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor at City Journal, had pointed out that the WEF and Schwab did not have the power people said they had over life in America, and the criticisms against them were "misguided."

"Unpopular opinion: the obsession with Klaus Schwab, Davos, and the WEF is misguided, as they have little real power over life in America," Rufo said. "It's also enervating, as it shifts the locus of control to far-away figures, while constructive action can be taken at home. Stay focused."

"Sensible thread," Musk responded. "We shouldn’t be obsessed with WEF/Davos, but they take themselves sooo seriously that making fun of them is awesome."

When a Twitter user complained that the WEF Twitter account didn't allow comments, Musk was once again quick to respond.

"There are some really funny WEF parody accounts, although it’s legit hard to tell WEF truth from WEF parody sometimes!" the billionaire mocked.

This year's forum ambition is to find a way to "cooperate in a fragmented world" amid the war in Ukraine, climate change, and globalization in existential crisis.

"The world today is at a critical inflection point," the World Economic Forum said on its website. "The twin triggers of the covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine rattled an already brittle global system. Economic growth in the world’s largest economies is stalling, while navigating headwinds from rising food and energy prices."

The WEF says it is committed to improving the state of the world, encouraging forward-looking and sustained debate on how to tackle global issues.

Critics say it wants to impose a globalist agenda rather than provide an antidote to many global problems. 

Musk's attacks on the WEF are part of the billionaire's strategy to take down certain icons celebrated by political and economic elites. 

For example, he recently attacked Anthony Fauci, the immunologist who is the face of the American response to the covid-19 pandemic.

He demanded that Fauci be prosecuted.