The World Economic Forum (WEF) generates a lot of headlines but many are less than generous to the Alpine meeting of influential political, economic and business leaders, claiming the annual meeting has big dreams but few achievements.
Around 3,000 global leaders, business people, policymakers and public officials attend the event in the ski resort of Davos in Switzerland, representing the cream of the political and economic world.
This has led to criticism of the Forum and its attendees — often called the "party of Davos" — who are viewed as the elite and hence "out of touch with the real world." WEF rebuffs such accusations, saying that it is "committed to improving the state of the world," a mission that's hard to argue with in terms of its aspirations.
While WEF says it has helped to improve the state of the world by re-defining growth, promoting adaptation and planning for the future, its detractors say the event is useless and the resort, where a hot dog can cost $43, smacks of elitism.
For one, Michael Ivanovitch, an independent analyst focusing on the world economy, geopolitics and investment strategy, is skeptical about the effectiveness of discussions in Davos.
"The forum is a talking shop without any consequence for world affairs … On the economic front, you will just hear platitudes you've heard 'x' times already," Ivanovitch told CNBC ahead of the Forum.
WEF aims to bring together what it calls "stakeholders" in both public and private organizations and sectors although membership is not cheap. Membership and partnership fees range from 60,000 Swiss francs ($62,243) to 600,000 Swiss francs (around $622,000) "depending on the level of engagement."