Recent global economic history as told through inscrutable Davos themes

The context at Davos is quite pretty.
The context at Davos is quite pretty.
Image: Reuters/Ruben Sprich
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The World Economic Forum just announced the theme of its 45th annual meeting, which begins next week in Davos, Switzerland. Brace yourselves for “The New Global Context.”

“How can leaders ensure their companies will thrive in a new global context?” asks one session at the posh meeting of financiers, world leaders, and policy wonks. Another program on the agenda promises “to help leaders think big by thinking back and thinking beyond in the new global context.”

Davos has a long history of ascribing each annual gathering with a vaguely profound but ultimately meaningless platitude. Looking back on these themes, which began in 2003, one can ever-so-slightly discern the, well, global context in which each meeting was held. Here they are, in all their clichéd glory:

  • 2003: Building Trust
  • 2004: Partnering for Security and Prosperity
  • 2005: Taking Responsibility for Tough Choices
  • 2006: The Creative Imperative
  • 2007: The Shifting Power Equation
  • 2008: The Power of Collaborative Innovation
  • 2009: Shaping the Post-Crisis World
  • 2010: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild
  • 2011: Shared Norms for the New Reality
  • 2012: The Great Transformation
  • 2013: Resilient Dynamism
  • 2014: The Reshaping of the World
  • 2015: The New Global Context

Quartz, which launched in 2012 with the tagline, “There’s a new global economy,” will have two editors on the ground in Davos this year to generate meaning amid the vagueness or, if all else fails, to ski.