The 10 Things We Learned At Davos

The alpine town of Davos in the Swiss Alps.

By Dennis K. Berman

Here’s the scary part about Davos: You schlep to this Swiss redoubt expecting to meet a secret colony of people in the know. But turns out they don’t know either. Which is in fact why they’re here, too — to find and interrogate people who do.

This collective “pinging” feels more akin to a high-frequency trading platform than a seminar devoted to improving the state of the world. The cocktail parties are no more than lubricated information markets, where each node is trying to calibrate itself based on information transmitted and received. What emerges about Europe, or social media, or green energy is eventually rendered a mushy consensus. This is what they might call in Davos the market-clearing price of a thought.

So, what was the mushy consensus?

“Not optimistic. But Less Pessimstic.”

Imminent crisis averted in the Eurozone, dozens of CEOs in private interviews struck a remarkably similar tone about the world economy. It’s banal if only for the scramble of phrases: Some spoke of the timeless “caution,” others declared themselves “not pessimistic but not optimistic either” and “hesitant.” The only honest position seems to be this: No one has a clue.

“Governments don’t create growth. They create circumstances.”

Perhaps the most provocative quote of the week, from an unnamed CEO. Such antipathy was in wide circulation across the week, as CEOs variously complained about financial overregulation, competing international standards, and European governments’ inability to change labor and safety-net laws. The struggle over corporate tax dollars — particularly in the strapped U.S. and Europe — is only beginning. There just doesn’t seem much trust left between government and business, which does not bode well.

via The 10 Things We Learned At Davos – Corporate Intelligence – WSJ.

SA to call for more investment at Davos

CAPE TOWN/SOUTH AFRICA, 10JUN2009 - Jacob Zuma...

South Africa is to use the 2013 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to call for more investment in the country and to boost the continent’s infrastructural projects.

The annual gathering of the world’s political, economic and business leaders takes place against the backdrop of a sluggish global economic recovery. President Jacob Zuma, who leads the country’s delegation, arrived this morning and will use the platform to promote the country’s vision for 2030, the National Development Plan.

The gloomy weather over the Davos resort is perhaps a reminder of the current difficult global economic condition. Themed, ‘The Resilient Dynamism’, that is what top leaders hope to achieve as they put together their heads to get the global economy back on its feet.

As South Africa tackles its triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, it hopes to use the occasion to lure more investments into the country.

via SABC News.com – SA to call for more investment at Davos:Tuesday 22 January 2013.