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C. Paul Luongo's Published Columns

Friday, September 08, 2006

2005 Economic Forum


Now I ask you, do we need Hollywood stars attending the World Economic Forum?
Do economists attend the Oscar’s? No.
Other than for publicity purposes, why then do Hollywood celebrities insist on sticking their nose in a forum where they don’t belong?
Allegedly, Sharon Stone wanted to pledge $10,000 to buy mosquito nets “to help prevent malaria in Tanzania”. Did she have to go to Davos to do this? Why not just send a $10,000 check to Tanzania and be quiet about it? Her career must need an uplift.
Same with Bono, Angelina Jolie, Richard Gere. I think it’s insulting to have these celebrities share the same stage with Prime Minister Tony Blair, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, former President Bill Clinton and South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Bono has called on the west to provide aid and for its financial institutions to cancel debt owed by African nations. What does he know about finance and the details of those financial institutions providing funds to African nations?
World Economic Forum (WEF) subjects such as Taking Responsibility for Tough Choices and Arab Reform are hardly subjects for discussion with Angelina Jolie who has opted to discuss Reinvent Yourself in a workshop for which she did not show up. Figures.
If this continues, the Forum will become a platform for misplaced priorities and foolish causes and it poses real risks to clear-sighted corporate, national and global governance subjects.
According to Claudia Gonzalez, a WEF media Handler, who shepherded actress Sharon Stone and actor Richard Gere through the five day conference, the goal is to mix issue-driven stars with serious CEOs.
As far as I’m concerned this is like mixing serious economists with actors at the Oscar’s or the Golden Globe awards. Would that be appropriate?
As one executive attendee at the WEF states, “I don’t want to be hit up for money by celebrities every time I attend.” Amen.


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