The invasion of Libya was going well, much better than anyone had expected. With ground forces outgunning resistance and attacks from the air showcasing military technology to best effect, proponents of the campaign were riding high and detractors looked woolly and pusillanimous.

Each year the world’s shakers and movers descend on Davos for shop-talks at the World Economic Forum about trends affecting the state of happiness of mankind in general and, coincidentally, of their own in particular. For the global elite, taking time out from their busy lives to muse about the future is time well spent, since they, after all, have a great deal more at stake than most of us.