Stories by Felix Salmon

Media coverage of Davos portrays more conference rhetoric than reality

illustration of davos Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos via Getty Images: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP and Harold Clements/Express
Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos via Getty Images: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP and Harold Clements/Express

Call it the hypocrisy gap. Davos has always struggled with the difference between the conference's rhetoric and its reality. This year, as climate change and talk of "stakeholder capitalism" increasingly dominate the public agenda, the gap between why delegates go and why they say they go is wider than ever.

Why it matters: Davos, once a quiet Alpine talking shop, has become a global media frenzy. Governments, corporations, and the World Economic Forum itself (slogan: "Committed to Improving the State of the World") increasingly see Davos as an opportunity to send the message that they care deeply about {insert cause here}. But that's not what keeps the plutocrats returning year after year.

What Matters 2020

Capitalism's discontents

anti-capitalist photo illustration
Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Spencer Platt/Getty Images, Scott Olson/Getty Images, and Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

More voters than ever oppose capitalism. That fact has profound implications for the 2020 presidential election, but also for the future of the entire U.S. and global economy.

By the numbers: A Harris poll for "Axios on HBO" finds that socialism is gaining popularity: Four in 10 Americans — and 55% of women between 18 and 54 — say they would prefer to live in a socialist country over a capitalist one.

The role of executive chairman provides power without accountability

A nameplate that says CEO is crossed out.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After replacing herself as CEO of Away in December following a major investigation into a toxic corporate culture at the suitcase company, Steph Korey has now unresigned, telling the New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin that she would instead stay on as co-CEO.

Why it matters: Korey's December announcement said that her new job would be "executive chairman" — the classic role of someone who wants power without accountability.