Davos Man: How the Billionaires Devoured the World

Peter S. Goodman. Custom House, $29.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-06-307830-7
Tax dodging, chicanery, and deceit are the stock-in-trade of supposedly humanitarian plutocrats according to this sardonic denunciation. Goodman (Past Due), a New York Times reporter, takes aim at billionaires who attend World Economic Forum meetings in Davos, Switzerland, to fret over global crises while sidestepping their own responsibility for them. These “Davos men,” he writes, “not only prosper but profiteer off everyone else’s suffering.” He admonishes Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos for failing to give workers adequate personal protective equipment and paid sick leave, for example, and Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman for “jacking up rents in a pandemic.” But the main charges are simple greed and hypocrisy: while Davos billionaires extol philanthropy and social justice, Goodman writes, they lobby against taxes and regulations that would trim their fortunes—and thus deny governments the capacity to solve problems by redistributing wealth, improving public services, and taming capitalism’s excesses. Goodman’s reportage doesn’t skimp on irony—attendees at one Davos event virtue-signaled on refugee issues by being “led around in the dark while blindfolded as angry officials demand papers”—but his critique is overbroad and unoriginal, with billionaires being cast into the roles of all-purpose villains. It’s colorful, but the rehash of wealthy men’s perfidy falls short of a cogent or fair analysis of their influence. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/24/2021
Release date: 01/18/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 480 pages - 978-0-06-307832-1
Book - 978-0-06-307831-4
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