The NYT reported that the people at the gathering of the super rich at Davos are concerned because the population of major democracies no longer buy the lies they tell to justify upward redistribution of income. It told readers:
"At cocktail parties where the Champagne flows, financiers have expressed bewilderment over the rise of populist groups that are feeding a backlash against globalization. ....
"The world order has been upended. As the United States retreats from the promise of free trade, China is taking up the mantle. ....."
"The religion of the global elite — free trade and open markets — is under attack, and there has been a lot of hand-wringing over what Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund has declared a 'middle-class crisis.'"
Of course, the Davos elite do not have a religion of free trade. They are entirely happy with every longer and stronger patent and copyright protections, which is a main goal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other recent trade pacts.
The Davos elite also have no objections to protectionist measures, like the U.S. ban on foreign doctors who have not completed a U.S. residency program. This protectionist barrier adds as much as $100 billion a year (@ $700 per family) to the country's health care bill.
Since these measures redistribute income upward to people like them, the Davos elite is perfectly happy with them. They only object to protectionist measures which are intended to help ordinary workers.
The concern in Davos is that the public in western democracies no longer buys the lie that they are committed to the public good rather than lining their pockets. It is nice that the NYT is apparently trying to assist the elite by asserting that they have an interest in "free trade," but it is not likely to help their case much.
Yeah, I am plugging my book, Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer (it's free).