Back in the 1970s, Klaus Schwab, the German-born economist who started the "World Economic Forum" (originally called the "European Management Forum") in Switzerland, had a brilliant idea: use the views of business executives as a supposedly infallible guide to the performance of economies. Thus was born the "World Competitiveness Index", whereby a handful of business executives in each country are quizzed for their views on government spending, industrial relations laws and regulation. 

The Index, and the hushed reverence with which it is treated in most media outlets around the world, was crucial to elevating the World Economic Forum and its annual meeting in Switzerland to the status of one of the key gathering of policymakers, corporate heavyweights and celebrities. This week, Our Cate, Elton John, Bollywood legend Shah Rukh Khan and Will.I.Am have all graced the WEF gathering.