Thursday, June 20, 2024

#172 / Secret Retreats?


Recently, The Wall Street Journal turned its attention to various "Secret Retreats" populated by "CEOs, VIPS, and Billionaires," who are reportedly "jockeying for invites." 

See if you can spot who's who in the drawing above, taken from the story. More than one prominent "billionaire" is depicted, but the one I most immediately noticed is in the "middle," not right at the front. That billionaire's photograph appears, a number of times, on the image chronicling "billioniares through the years," as featured in one of my recent blog postings. Hint: the first name of the billionaire to whom I am alluding (a billionaire who is depicted in that drawing above) is named - and it seems quite appropriate - "Bill." 

I am not, actually, all that impressed by what is sometimes called "the Davos crowd," which is the crowd that attends these various "secret retreats." Of course, you could suspect that I am just jealous. I have never been invited - to Davos or to any of the other "secret retreats" reported on by The Wall Street Journal

In fact, here is the statement that struck me, as I read the story that I have linked, above:

There aren’t that many places for these people to have these conversations, said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

What are "these conversations," as mentioned by Benioff? Basically, they are discussions and conversations about how the world should work (it being assumed, of course, in the gatherings documented in the article, that it is the people who get the "invites" who both should be, and are, making the decisions that will decide what happens).

Since I don't think that "the Davos crowd," meaning the billionaires and those they hang with, should be deciding how the world should work, I would like to propose a little "thought experiment." What would happen if a group of non-billionaire type people got together, once in a while, in some hospitable location, with the gathering being comprised of ordinary people who are engaged in doing things in the world? 

I am thinking about a meeting that might include: (1) local nonprofit workers; (2) elementary school and high school teachers; (3) local government officials (past and present - and please note that I, personally, would qualify in the "past" category); (4) protest leaders; (5) small farmers; (6) auto workers); (7) journalists; (8) downtown store owners, and....

You get the idea!

What if such ordinary people were to get together, periodically - or sporadically, even better - to talk together about what should be happening, and even how to make it happen. It seems to me that these are the kind of topics that the rich and famous are talking about all the time at those "secret retreats" featured by The Journal. To the degree that we still believe in "self-government," such "ordinary people" are actually supposed to be in charge of the world, and our government. Maybe those who are supposed to be in charge should get together, once in a while, and talk about what to do. According to our "self-government" perspective on how the world works, what happens is actually not supposed to be decided upon in "secret" meetings attended by "billionaires" and their self-selected friends.

I am making this as a serious suggestion. If you were invited to such a gathering, and went (or if you hosted one, and participated), you and the others who participated might get the idea that you, and those others with whom you had met, have some pretty good ideas on what we might be able to accomplish. We might be able to come up with some pretty good ideas on how, actually, to do what we thought needed to be done.

That might be true even if those in attendance were not billionaires!

That would be consistent with democracy, right? Not oligarchy! We do know the difference, don't we?

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