are an invitation-only group of rich and powerful people who have been getting together secretly in expensive hotels since 1954 to discuss how to make the world a better place for rich and powerful people. Not surprisingly, the Bilderbergers are the subject of much conspiracy theorizing.
In recent years, they’ve been overshadowed by the Davos confab, which cleverly took the opposite tack: maximize publicity. Sure, it’s fun to secretly hang out with your fellow Bilderbergers, but it can be more fun to boast about your invitation to Davos. The Davos strategy is to invite journalists to lecture rich and powerful guys. The rich and powerful guys treat the journalists like peers with fascinating insights, then the journalists go home and write articles about how today’s crop of rich and powerful guys are so much more wonderful than you might think.
There is less conspiracy theorizing about Davos than Bilderberg because Davos hires platoons of PR flacks to tell everybody that, yes, the people who get invited to Davos do Run the World. So that takes all the fun out of it for the conspiracy theorists.
It appears the Bilderbergers may be slowly moving in the Davos direction. (Here’s Charlie Skelton’s BilderBlog
at the Guardian
.) This year, a website called BilderbergMeetings.org
has appeared. It could be a hoax or it could be the real deal. (The Guardian
says one delegate confirmed it’s valid.) It’s certainly sober and understated enough.
It even features a purported list of this week’s participants
: Niall Ferguson, Bill Gates, Donald Graham (Washington Post publisher), Richard Holbrooke, James Johnson (ex-Fannie Mae), Henry Kissinger, Henry Kravis, John Micklethwait (editor of The Economist), Peter Orszag (OMB), Richard Perle, Charlie Rose, Robert Rubin, Erich Schmidt of Google, Larry Summers, Paul Volcker, Jose Zapatero (PM of Spain), Bob Zoellick (World Bank), and a whole bunch of CEOs. Last year’s guests included Max Boot, Vernon Jordan, David Rockefeller, and Paul Wolfowitz.
Sounds kind of dull.The two years’ worth of attendees would be a useful source for a study of the characteristics of the Trans-Atlantic elite.
That the Bilderbergers feel they need the insights of Max Boot and Charlie Rose reminds me of Greg Cochran’s insight: There is no Inner Party. There’s no Mustapha Mond who understands how it all works. At the end of 1984 [spoiler alert!] O’Brien of the evil Inner Party gives poor Winston Smith of the Outer Party a lecture explaining how the whole system works, just as at the end of Brave New World, Mond explains to the main characters how and why he and his fellow World Controllers control the world.
On a fashion note, the Guardian’s series of 19 photos of big shots arriving suggests that the Obama Look — a suit or a sports jacket and a dress shirt, but without a necktie — has become the Bilderberg standard, unless you are an old coot like Volcker.