For the second year in a row, the World Economic Forum scrapped its annual meeting in the Alpine resort town of Davos, Switzerland, because of the pandemic.
The gathering is an essential stop on the annual circuit for the global elite, a weeklong schmoozefest where billionaires and autocrats mingle over canapés while activists protest in the frigid mountain air. Companies make climate pledges. Economists discuss inequality. Everyone walks on the same slippery, slushy roads.
It was at the January 2020 annual meeting that many executives and world leaders first heard about the coronavirus, as news reports about a mysterious illness began to trickle out of Wuhan, China. Last year, the forum abandoned Davos and planned to hold the meeting in Singapore during the summer, but the Singapore event got canceled, too.
This year’s event was scheduled to begin on Monday and proceed more or less as usual. Multinational corporations were renting…