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A gathering in Switzerland

Little-known meetings can have massive outcomes

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Down through history there have been little ­conferences attended by small numbers of elites that have quietly changed the world while the rest of mankind was going about its mundane business unawares.

Present-day Iznik, a town 56 miles southeast of Istanbul, was in A.D. 325 the scene of a gathering of churchmen who settled once for all certain hotly debated questions regarding the nature of Christ. The name of the place was Nicaea, and by the time the meeting adjourned we had the Nicene Creed, which declared that Jesus was not a creature of God but very God.

In June of 1494 King Ferdinand II of Aragon, Queen Isabella I of Castille, and King John II of Portugal drew a demarcation line like a vertical knife edge running from North to South poles, trampling established communities as it divided the Western world between Spain and Portugal. People falling on one side of the line would henceforth speak Spanish and people on the other side would speak Portuguese. The agreement was called the Treaty of Tordesillas.

On a cold November night in 1910, a secretive cadre of financiers and politicians representing the great ­banking houses boarded a train in New Jersey bound for Jekyll Island, Ga., to create a cartel meant to reduce competition against its interests, resulting in the ­creation of a quasi-governmental organization today known as the Federal Reserve.

In Bretton Woods, nestled in the White Mountains National Forest in the town of Carroll, today known as New Hampshire’s largest winter ski area, a 1944 meeting of 730 delegates from 44 Allied nations birthed the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, establishing a new post-war economic order.

Every year in Davos, Switzerland, a by-invitation-­only gathering of international movers and shakers called the World Economic Forum (WEF), founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, work out how to implement a blueprint to transform the world. Their vision was infamously conveyed in 2016 on their website by Danish MP Ida Auken: “Welcome to 2030: I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better.” (The article was later taken down.)

This year the unelected group of 3,000 enthused over the metaverse, online censorship, diversity and inclusion, universal basic income, financial centralization, central bank digital currency, banning cars and meat to save the planet, and increasing global trust in the WEF by influencing local media.

Sounds like kind of a big deal. So I conducted my own little survey asking friends to answer a single ­question: “What do you know about what’s going on in Davos this week?” Here is a representative sampling of their responses: “Absolutely nothing”; “Nothing”; “I don’t know anything”; “I don’t know. I listen to very ­little news”; “I haven’t been following the news”; “I have no idea. Am I supposed to do research, or is the fact that I have no idea part of your research?”

Only one respondent offered more: “I think there was some kind of dust-up about a global climate change meeting where most of the people that went to it came on their own private jets.” One tersely nailed it: “It was the World Economic Forum.”

People living in the Stone Age didn’t know they were living in the Stone Age. People alive at the time the monks in Ireland furiously copied Greek and Latin Bible manuscripts as fast as the Huns and Visigoths could torch the libraries of Europe didn’t know they were living through the near destruction of Western civilization. Such things are clear only in hindsight.

And I suppose that many living in the end times will not recognize they’re in the end times.

Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine. Her columns have been compiled into three books including Won’t Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. Andrée resides near Philadelphia.


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