Ah Davos. The smell of snow, helicopter fuel, money, and power. If one wants to do crony business, this is the place to do it.
(From The American Conservative)
Let’s face it: a clustering of brilliant minds with practically endless resources isn’t bad on its face—until government officials enter the equation. The repeated dalliances between business and government leaders at an event where attendance is famously restricted gives rise to a certain air of “special access” that in turn fosters concerns of cronyism and favoritism.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the defense sphere, where the head of the Pentagon regularly rubs shoulders with top brass in weapons production and technological development. When then-defense secretary Ashton Carter crashed Davos in 2016, he met with executive after executive offering to do their part in the fight against the Islamic State.
As one senior defense official put it, “I think the secretary’s found people in the tech and business community who are just as concerned about America’s security and are just as patriotic as anybody else.” Count Meg Whitman, outgoing CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE), as one of these “concerned” individuals. In the months after meeting with Secretary Carter, Whitman secured some of the largest contracts that HPE has ever obtained from the federal government.