Davos

By Gideon Rachman
Faced with a dangerous political threat, governments the world over tend to place their faith in the same magic medicine – economic growth. When world leaders try to address the roots of terrorism, for example, they instinctively assume that prosperity and jobs must be the long-term answer. And when a regional conflict threatens to get out of control – in east Asia or the Middle East – the standard political response is to call for greater economic integration. From Europe to China, governments place their faith in economic growth as the key to political and social stability.

(Getty)

Gideon Rachman has written about his encounters with a barking dog at Davos lovingly owned by Russian concert pianist and composer Lera Auerbach. In a talk on the last day at the World Economic Forum she gave some insights into the creative process and how she balances her talents which include painting, sculpture and poetry. Whether her dog helps this process she didn’t make clear.

And perhaps business people could learn from her approach. As she tours regularly as a concert pianist she said it was imperative to create an “inner silence” under any conditions. Artists, she admitted, are excellent at making excuses not to work – Wagner insisted on silk underwear to compose. So she didn’t allow the frenetic pace of Davos to become her excuse and scribbled a few lines of music each evening she was there. This “inner silence” is the only way we can truly find ourselves and create, she says. In her hideaway house she owns in Florida a sign on her door says, “GET AWAY FROM HERE”. Read more

hitandrun / www.hitandrunmedia.com

By Peter Chapman
With the global youth-to-adult unemployment ratio at its peak, and inequality one of the themes at Davos last week, the FT looks at the questions raised by youth unemployment, as well as solutions to it, in this Special Report.

Will the world’s lack of jobs drive the under-25s to violence and extremism? Do children, meanwhile, make easy targets for the global slave trade, and why is it that teenagers face greater bullying and violence over their sexual orientation?

Business often points the finger at government over the need to tackle the mismatch between qualifications and jobs but could it be doing more to confront the matter itself? Certainly German companies like BMW are bringing the benefit of apprenticeships to US states like South Carolina.

We have examined this and more in our Investing in Young People report.

What do you think must be done to prevent a lost generation of young people? Please share your comments with us below. Read more

I arrived in VIP-full Davos with one prediction in mind: 2014 will be the year the world returns to normality or at least the semblance of normality with the tapered exit from quantitative easing.

After three days at high altitude, the prediction is intact and I have five other takeaways. Read more

Bono has joined forces with Bank of America at the World Economic Forum to announce an initiative to put millions of dollars into tackling Aids. Senior FT columnist Gillian Tett on why she expects to see more companies embark on such initiatives to improve tarnished images.

On the third day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Lionel Barber, FT editor, reflects on how the Argentine peso’s fall has impacted the consensus at the meeting that the world is returning to normality.

FT economics editor Chris Giles examines statements by Bank of England governor Mark Carney, that interest rates are likely to remain below historical norms and looks at possible changes to “forward guidance” policy.

There may be clouds over emerging markets and plenty of blue-sky talk coming out of the World Economic Forum in Davos. But just check how clear the airspace above the Swiss town looks as delegates break for lunch.

Andrew Hill

Matthieu Ricard (c) WEF

I’ve been to happier meetings on glummer subjects than the Davos dinner I joined on Thursday about “The Importance of Happiness” .

Perhaps it was the presence of a trio of dismal scientists as discussion leaders – Harvard’s Michael Porter, Columbia’s Jeff Sachs and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz – that cast a pall. At any rate, their thoughts on how to measure happiness did little to lighten the mood.

There was one great burst of wisdom, however, from Matthieu Ricard, the French-born geneticist turned Buddhist monk, who brought some much-needed colour to the debate. Could it be, one delegate asked, that the more you know, the less contented you are? Read more

The Bank of England governor also signalled that the central bank will drop the simple link between interest rates and the unemployment rate in a speech to British business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos.