Excerpted from a novel by Tom Evslin
( ed. intro: It happens every year at about this time. From all over the world, prime ministers, presidents, bankers – central and otherwise – CEOs, religious leaders, the occasional king, futurists, journalists, and assorted others who consider themselves insiders and essential to the orderly functioning of the new global economy ... they all head for a little town in Switzerland. They come for the same reason that people in Hollywood attend the Academy Awards. Because not to go, if you are invited, would be unthinkable. And not to be invited …
The event is called The World Economic Forum. In good years, the attendees discuss what a wonderful job they have done, what with prosperity spreading across the globe. In the not-so-good years, like this one, they talk about the economy as though it is some great, smelly beast that resists even their good efforts to housebreak it. Some attendees may actually be able to do something about the economy but lack the political sand to do it. Angela Merkle delivered the keynote this year; she took a hard line on expanding Europe’s bailout fund. Larry Summers will also be there and he has already let everyone know what he thinks they must accomplish. Since his fingerprints are all over the corpse of the American economy, he is in a fine position to lecture.
This year, attendees will be urged to "rethink capitalism." This will, no doubt, provide material for a dozen or more Tom Friedman columns even if it doesn't do much for the crisis of the Euro or any of the other ailments afflicting the global economy.
The attendees will eat well, drink fine wines and spirits, swap e-mail addresses (and, perhaps, a few Swiss bank account numbers) and even make the occasional deal. There will be a lot of conversations with participants looking over each other's shoulders to see if someone more famous or important has entered the room.
Tom Evslin attended the Davos event. Twice, actually. This would have been back in the dotcom days when he was a high-flier in that universe. Not only did Tom emerge with his wings unscorched, he is one of the few attendees who did not come away with empty hands. He got this wonderful Chapter of a very funny novel out of the experience.
The novel is called hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble and it is a high tech romp. You can go to Amazon to order either a hard copy or a download for your Kindle. Which you will almost certainly want to do once you have read this excerpt that takes place at Davos back in those long-ago, sunlit days when Bill Clinton was President and everything seemed possible in the best of all possible global economies.
final note: Readers should be aware that hackoff.com is a contemporary novel with the sort of rough language and erotic passages one expects in such works.)