Joan Veon

The Women’s International Media Group, Inc.

January 25, 2006

Davos, Switzerland - Complexity is the top concern here at Davos. Complexity as it pertains to technology, geo-politics, cultures, the demand of business to produce a product cheaper and better, off-shoring, globalization and the rise of China and India. What better place to discuss the state of the world than at The World Economic Forum. Yearly key power movers and shakers are brought together to discuss and to hob-knob. After all, the name of the game is business, or is it?

There is no doubt about the power that the World Economic Forum wields and there is not doubt as to the people who vie for an invitation to come to Davos. It is not unreasonable to see a sheik, crown prince, duchess, duke, king or queen. Yesterday everyone was staring at the very pregnant Angela Jolie and Brad Pitt.

However, we need to look further at the structure that is being put in place. Do the CEO’s who come here really understand what they are participating in? While they run major businesses that impact the daily lives of thousands of people and create markets around the world, the question is, “Do they understand?”

At my first meeting in 1998, I saw that the structure was like that of a major UN meg-conference with meetings and workshops talking about the UN agenda, also known as global governance. It was Kofi Annan’s first appearance here as secretary-general. I don’t know who was more awed—Kofi Annan with the capitals, kings, and queens of global business or if they were with him.

However, it is not business networking that is the primary function of the World Economic Forum since it has NGO status with UNESCO. Perhaps we could say the WEF was put in place to facilitate the future merger between government, business, and civil society. These three are the new actors in global governance and it was just a matter of time before they came together which was in 1998.

That year, Kofi Annan was accompanied by Maurice Strong who was his adviser, coaching him in what he was to say and do. At that meeting, I posed a question to Mr. Strong who informed me that the Secretary-General would answer it. Kofi Annan told me that the UN would be holding a Millennium Summit in 2000 where they would look to set up a “People’s Chamber” that would represent the people of the world who would, in time, elect their own UN representative. The second chamber would be equal to our House of Representatives. He also announced the formation of the UN Global Compact which would solicit businesses to work with the UN to help them meet their goals. This had not happened before—the merger of government and business—except during World War II when Mussolini was financed by American bankers. Do CEO’s understand this?

In all the research and interviews that I have done on the Global Compact, Kofi Annan has been given the credit for it. However, when Prince Charles toured the U.S. last November, he said in a speech that he met with the Secretary-General in New York to discuss the possibility of business and government working together and that the Global Compact was his initiative. We really have to wonder who Prince Charles is in that he appears to walk to and fro over the earth with great power to command.

In his last Davos speech as secretary-general, Kofi Annan called for the radical reform of the United Nations. What he means by this is that the objective of UN powers should be expanded to include individuals and not just countries. In order to understand the magnitude of this, the UN unveiled the Millennium Development Goals in 2000 which calls for poverty, hunger, disease to be reduced by 50% by 2015 and for every child to be given a primary education. To meet these goals, the UN has been working with national governments as well as all other actors: business, non-governmental organizations, labor unions, etc. Here in Davos, the topic of businesses helping the UN to mobilize monies is a re-occurring issue. The fact that the UN now wants to have power over the PEOPLE of the world, is a major seizure of power. If they have power over people, then that means UN Resolutions supersede national laws. Then we have to ask, “What does that mean with regard to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court?” Do CEO’s understand this?

The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum formed in 1990 has as its objective to form public-private partnerships with businesses, governments, and non-governmental organizations. The idea whereby businesses and governments form a partnership to manage a water or electric facility, waste water or transportation system is basically fascism. Fascism is where government and business “co-manage” what formerly was a government responsibility. In 1990, Prince Charles started to open the way for public-private partnerships to come together globally. Since then their popularity has become the change agent for changing the structure of traditional government as we have known it. In this regard, the prince helped to pioneer the concept of “corporate social responsibility” which is where corporations take responsibility to solve social issues. In the past, only the socialists did this. So perhaps we could say corporations are being “socialized.” Do CEO’s understand this?

In a workshop on humanitarian relief and the involvement of businesses, Michael S. Klein, CEO of Citibank’s Global Banking told me that they contribute to UN humanitarian causes out of excess capacity, just-in-time delivery, and continuity of business. They have over $2T at their disposal. While this makes sense to me, the changing philosophy of what it represents is of concern. DHL which provides instant movement of emergency goods during the first three critical days of a disaster, said in response to my question about spending corporate profits for social issues instead of doing what business is suppose to do, that it helps the company’s image and helps the employees feel good about what they can do and that their company is part of the process. While I certainly understand the desire for each of us to help mankind, do these companies know that they are changing the landscape of how society and government used to operate? Not too long ago there were specific divisions between what business and what government did. Now they are co-joined. Do the CEO’s understand that they are helping to de-construct government as we have known it and that they are normalizing this new structure?

The UN as well as the World Economic Forum and the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum have been setting up humanitarian organizations to deal with disasters for a number of years. As a result of the South Seas Tsunami a year ago and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the U.S., the people of the world have come on board with humanitarian relief. In other words, the world has been integrated as one through the heart and soul where our emotions are housed. More aid poured out to people displaced by the tsunami than before in the history of the UN and the world. Globally churches, schools, corporations, social clubs, movie stars, governments, foundations, and children raised monies for disaster relief. The soul of the world became one. This could not have happened unless the heart strings were affected.

Now the UN, the Global Compact, and humanitarian agencies and then non-governmental organizations are looking to set up a completely integrated system whereby corporate excesses can be mobilized upon one phone call. Corporations anywhere in the world can then allocate employees, money, time, and profits for the sake of helping during a disaster. This is historic. Let it be understood that when there was a time when corporate excesses were paid to the employee. In other words, the employee has transferred from his brain power and physical labor, the assets necessary for a corporation to have excess profits. They can either be paid back to the employee as increased wages OR as dividends to the shareholders. Do the CEO’s understand this transfer of wealth? Again, this is socialism at its finest.

Part of the complexity in doing business today is that companies constantly have to transcend countries in order to ensure market share. Therefore, they are already looking to integrate the cultures and habits of people from around the world. I guess you could say that multinational and transnational corporations are basically “mini-UN’s” with regard to their multi-cultural employees and customers. Therefore, integrating countries on the global level and tearing down barriers facilitates their operations—but we must remember that they are giving away excess capacity which belongs to the employees or shareholders. However, do they understand what a world governmental system will mean in the future?

Have they read Agenda 21 or the Biological Diversity Treaty? Have they studied the documents from the UN mega conferences and do they understand what sustainable development truly is? Do they know about regional government and how towns, cities, and villages in the U.S. and around the world are being merged into one new governmental entity whereby their power and money comes directly from Washington or the seat of government and not from ELECTED government? In other words, people will not have any say, unless they go to the UN through the non-governmental organizations! Do they understand that in the future, there will be regional government, federal government and then global government?

Do they understand “smart growth” and how people are being forced to live in designated growth areas so they can be monitored better? Do they understand outcome based education? For American CEO’s, do they understand that the UN Charter is replacing the U.S. Constitution? Does it matter to them? Under the system of global governance, national government will not be how we are represented in society. We will be represented through the corporations (as an employee) and civil society: faith-based partnerships, churches, and only UNESCO registered non-governmental organizations. Lastly, do they understand that the monetary system of the world is in the hands of a small group of international bankers who literally run what they don’t? Do they understand that the Federal Reserve is a private corporation which manages the monetary system of the U.S. and therefore has the power to create booms and busts? Do they understand that control is the opposite of freedom?

To order Joan Veon’s books, Prince Charles the Sustainable Prince and The United Nations’ Global Straitjacket, please call 301/371-0541.


If You Want to Know your Future
Check Out the World Economic Forum

By Joan Veon

The Women’s International Media Group, Inc.

Davos, Switzerland - When you want to know what the weather will be, you read the newspaper forecast and if that is not current enough, you go to the internet or the Weather Channel. When you want to know how your life will be affected as a result of political, economic, trade, and legal changes, you go to specific sources.

As a freelance reporter I stumbled onto the international level as a result naiveté and a lack of knowledge as to the real workings of the world. Little did I know when I saw the actors of world government discussing how the world was going to be run in 1994 at a UN conference, that I would end up identifying as many power sources as I could and then covering their meetings in order to understand what was really happening at the global level that the mainstream media was not explaining to “we the people.”

Early on, I found a number of very powerful meetings that have and are affecting how we live in an interdependent world. The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum-WEF in Davos, Switzerland is one of them. While many of us work for large multinational or transnational corporations, we are somewhat remote from the chief executive officer, even though his power is felt daily. Imagine what happens when you bring 1,000 CEO’s from the world’s largest and most powerful corporations along with the heads of state, international organizations like the United Nations, World Bank and International Labor Organization, non-governmental organizations, religious leaders, and royalty? Ideas flow and people and power connect. However, we need to ask, who really benefits?

As I have analyzed the attendees, there is an “inner core” of participants at the WEF who are members of some of the world’s most powerful organizations whose goal is a world governmental structure. They include the Royal Institute for International Affairs, now called the Chatham House, the Tri-Lateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum. Sometimes you will see a Fabian socialist or an Oppenheimer, Rockefeller, and for the first time, Nathaniel Rothschild, who has been named a WEF Young Global Leader. Furthermore, every member of the British royal family has been here with the exception of the queen.

In a world where there are no barriers between the nation-states, this year’s meeting is focusing on a “post-knowledge world,” that is where the world is being transitioned from globalization to “Goggleization”. According to WEF Founder Klaus Schwab,

The assumptions, tools and frameworks that leaders from business, government, and civil society have employed over the past decade seem increasingly outdated. Globalization has become so entrenched and seemingly irreversible that we have even started to talk of a world that is flat. But if our world is indeed flat, it is not yet a uniform surface—our task is to make those connections better—with new rules, new institutions, and especially, through creative leadership (emphasis added).

It is apparent to most Americans when they go shopping, that the power of American manufacturing has been shifted to China since they have the largest pool of cheap-slave labor. It is also apparent to the white collar worker that India is now able to help their company reduce labor costs. Will outsourcing go away? No. There is a very major shift taking place in the global workforce. Not only are people migrating to find work—whether it be those from Nicaragua or Mexico who come to America but Africans are now migrating to Ireland for the same purpose: work. This is happening worldwide.

In a workshop on job, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao painted a rosy pink picture of the U.S. economy and how the federal government has put in place very expensive programs to provide laid off workers with all kinds of benefits during their time of re-education, a panel member asked her if it was really working when someone from the audience called out that most people and companies don’t qualify for it. It was then that she admitted the U.S. has a “skills gap.” Unfortunately, Ms. Chao looked pretty poor in the eyes of the audience as they snickered over some of her other pie in the sky remarks about small town re-employment. She did not spend too much time on how to re-educate a 50 or 60 year old with a high school level of education and no real developed skills.

Where are the jobs for the future? They are in healthcare, nursing (for a graying baby boomer generation), skilled trades such as plumbers, electricians, and construction workers, advanced manufacturing, nanotechnology, and biosciences to name a few.

In a global economy where the worker is being spun off as a result of the fast paced change of the work environment, I find it curious that there is much discussion about corporations ending their defined benefit programs and the need to make retirement benefits portable, along with healthcare benefits. Corporations, in an effort to reduce expenses and compete globally, are looking to provide every worker with portable benefits: healthcare and retirement. Look out—this is all coming to your employer soon. Is this a departure from the world we knew? Yes.

In a market-based world where the market is king, the care of the employee has been replaced by the demands of the market. Is that understandable? It would be more understandable if we were the CEO, pulling down a $20 million a year salary with life-time perks. However, in a society where the ability for a family to feed themselves by raising chickens, cows and vegetables has been replaced by the city and dependence on outside employment, this is reality. Is it civility?

In the eleven plus years that I have covered global meetings and in all the time that I have devoted to understanding the international structure above the nation-state, I find there is a “global knowledge divide.” In other words, the American worker does not have any idea about what is happening outside of their 50 mile square circumference. People look at me as if I am a crazy lady when I start explaining the international structure above the nation-state. Why do all the other workers in the world understand this and yet Americans do not? None of our politicians are willing to real tell Americans what they have done to change it.

Several years ago, I confronted Elaine Chao about the 20 million manufacturing jobs that were sent to China. She was very terse as she explained that it is up to the average worker to look ahead in order to determine if they have the right skills. Unfortunately, the average American is pretty dumbed down and does not think they have to because America is America. However that America is vanishing.

At every turn here at the World Economic Forum, the discussion is on the rise of India and China and how they will affect a US-centric world. The overall opinion is that the possibility of the U.S. losing its grip on the world is not too far fetched. The post-knowledge world says “cheaper, faster and better” is not enough, you need the right employee with the right skills for the right job and if that means outsourcing that is the reality. In a technological world, you can find employees anywhere in the world, all they need is a computer hook-up.

According to MorganStanley economist, Stephen Roach, the American consumer has been spending stock and home equity savings and will not have too much more to spend in the near future, thus shifting the need for a consumer based economy to China and India’s rising classes. In other words, the ability for the American consumer to carry the world comes at our expense.

With regard to an interconnected world, this year’s forum will sponsor a discussion on a “new mindset for the UN”. Thursday’s session will discuss why the world needs a UN and how to strengthen its credibility. It should be noted that the UN was given a major power boost in 2000 and then last September. Their power has been evolving for over 60 years. Interestingly enough, the UN has never has power to enforce, because it is a voluntary organization. Because of the number of global rules and regulations that are not mandatory, there is now discussion about giving the UN the “right to enforce.” It should be noted that at every WEF, there is usually a number of powerful U.S. cabinet members, senators, and congressmen interacting to consensus. The bottom line, if you want to know your future, you need to look up to the international level and pay attention to meetings like this.

To order Joan Veon’s books, call 301/371-0541: Prince Charles the Sustainable Prince and the United Nations’ Global Straitjacket.