Tag: Davos

Davos: Two Worlds, Ready Or Not

By Simon Johnson

On the fringes of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos this week, there was plenty of substantive discussion – including about the dangers posed by our “too big to fail”/”too big to save” banks, the consequences of widening inequality (reinforced by persistent unemployment in some countries), and why the jobs picture in the U.S. looks so bad.

But in the core keynote events and more generally around any kind of CEO-related interaction, such themes completely failed to resonate.  There is, of course, variation in views across CEOs and the people work intellectual agendas on their behalf, but still the mood among this group was uniformly positive – it was hard to detect any note of serious concern.

Many of the people who control the world’s largest corporations are quite comfortable with the status quo post-financial crisis.  This makes sense for them – and poses a major problem for the rest of us. Continue reading “Davos: Two Worlds, Ready Or Not”

Davos World Economic Forum: A Viewer’s Guide

The big annual economic meeting at Davos opens next week (Jan 28-Feb 1 are the official dates), and the discussion there – in both formal and informal interactions – is worth scouring for indications of the current situation around the world and where we all may be heading.

Given the likely composition of the main players this year – world corporate leaders and the non-US policy elite (with the new US policymakers stuck at home, doing real work; update: this is now confirmed by Bloomberg for Summers and Bair) – I would suggest viewers at home and on the ground keep watch for answers to the following.

  1. Are we on the same planet? It is not unheard of for Davos participants to appear as if they are living in their own bubble.  Watch for opulent parties and excessive consumption, particularly if the people involved have nominated themselves for any kind of government handout.  If you meet someone from Merrill, ask if their attendance fees came out of 4th quarter earnings – or if there is still more bad news to come. Continue reading “Davos World Economic Forum: A Viewer’s Guide”