The crisis in the eurozone, the US 'fiscal cliff', and rocketing national debts will be used as evidence that the path to stable long-term prosperity is not the one that has been trodden by the West.
Developing nations will put the case against the Western model as 1,500 politicians, businessmen, economists, environmentalists, philanthropists and actors debate solutions to the world's economic woes at the Swiss ski resort.
The theme of this year's meeting is "resilient dynamism", a philosophy that the WEF's founder Klaus Schwab described as moving on from agonising about current problems to looking at the future "in a much more positive way".
He has called for co-operation to restore dwindling public faith in politics and business. "The future of the world economy is based on restoring trust in our leaders," he said.
The continuing threat of a break-up of the single currency bloc is likely to smoulder in the background of much of the discussion. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble are attending.