The Bilderbergs are an invited group of rich and powerful people who have been getting together secretly in expensive hotels since 1954 to discuss how to make the world a better place for rich and powerful people. Not surprisingly, the Bilderbergs are the subject of much conspiracy theorizing.
In recent years, they've been overshadowed by the Davos confab, which cleverly took the opposite tack: maximize publicity. Sure, it's fun to secretly hang out with your fellow Bilderbergs, but it can be more fun to boast about your invitation to Davos. The Davos strategy is to invite journalists to lecture rich and powerful guys. The rich and powerful guys treat the journalists like peers, then the journalists go home and write articles about how today's crop of rich and powerful guys are so much more wonderful than you might think.
This year, a website called BilderbergMeetings.org has appeared. It could be a hoax or it could be the real deal. It's certainly sober and understated enough.
It even features a purported list of this week's participants: Niall Ferguson, Donald Graham (Washington Post publisher), Richard Holbrooke, Henry Kissinger, Henry Kravis, John Micklethwait (editor of The Economist), Peter Orszag (OMB), Richard Perle, Charlie Rose, Robert Rubin, Erich Schmidt of Google, Larry Summers, Paul Volcker, Jose Zapatero (PM of Spain), Bob Zoellick (World Bank), and a whole bunch of CEOs. Last year's guests included Max Boot, Vernon Jordan, David Rockefeller, and Paul Wolfowitz.
Sounds kind of dull.