For when Davos isn’t exclusive enough, there is Bilderberg. The Bilderberg Meeting is an annual gathering of world leaders, executives, and assorted grandees, established in 1954 and named for the Dutch hotel where the secretive group first gathered.
Amid heavy security, around 130 people—including three prime ministers and 30 CEOs—will hold talks on the world’s most pressing issues this week. The four-day retreat starts on Thursday (June 9) at an undisclosed location in Dresden, Germany.
This year’s agenda includes predictable topics like “China,” “migration,” and “cyber security.” But one talking point is particularly intriguing, addressing the “precariat and middle class.”
The what? The “precariat” is a term popularized by British economist Guy Standing, describing a growing class of people who feel insecure in their jobs, communities, and life in general. They are…
…the perpetual part-timers, the minimum-wagers, the temporary foreign workers, the grey-market domestics paid in cash… the techno-impoverished whose piecemeal work has no office and no end, the seniors who struggle with dwindling benefits, the indigenous people who are kept outside, the single mothers without support, the cash labourers who have no savings, the generation for whom a pension and a retirement is neither available nor desired.
This marginalized group—“alienated, anomic, anxious, and angry,” according to Standing—is fueling the rise of populist politicians like Donald Trump in the US and similar rabble rousers in Europe and beyond. (Discussing this group alongside the middle class, which isn’t doing great either, is telling.) The resulting turmoil in politics, markets, and economics is a factor in nearly all of the Bilderberg meeting’s other agenda items.
So what will the bigwigs do about it? Conspiracy theorists may think that Bilderberg members are in league with the Illuminati, Freemasons, and Lizard People, hatching the New World Order from their secret hideouts. More likely is that the politicians and power brokers meeting in Germany this week are as taken aback by the travails of the increasingly marginalized masses as anybody else.
But what the Bilderbergers really think will remain a mystery. According to the group’s code, “There is no desired outcome, no minutes are taken and no report is written. Furthermore, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.”