capitalism

♦ Gillian Tett speaks to Alan Greenspan and finds he is prepared to admit that he got it wrong – at least in part.
♦ The White House glitches have gone further than Obamacare, as the administration has been continuously caught off guard by recent crises from Syria to spying, says Edward Luce. And the president gives few signs of having found a learning curve.
♦ France’s central bank governor, Christian Noyer, says Europe’s financial transaction tax poses an “enormous risk” to the countries involved.
♦ Spain’s mini gold rush in the country’s north is part of a broader movement by foreign investors seeking to turn Spain’s woes to their advantage. It also shows some of the difficulties of investing despite a more positive outlook.
♦ Ikea has sent self-assembly huts to Ethiopia to house Somali refugees – and they could soon be used as alternatives to tents elsewhere.
♦ Josef Joffe, editor of Die Zeit, looks at the history of top-down capitalism and wonders whether China can sustain its astounding growth.
♦ The art world may be marvelling at China’s booming market, but many transactions have not actually been completed and the market is flooded with forgeriesRead more

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Alan Beattie

Like the European Christmas, America’s Thanksgiving is edging towards being an entirely retail-driven festival. Black Friday, the day after the holiday, has been the busiest shopping day of the year for a while; we now also have Small Business Saturday and Cyber-Monday (for online buyers), and no doubt some marketing fiend somewhere is seeking to theme Sunday and Tuesday also.

Those capitalistic Puritans would have been proud, right? Max Weber says so. Liberated from the clutches of a static and stultifying Europe (and skipping all those EU summits), they worked hard, saw profits and wealth as evidence of God’s calling, and we ended up with the greatest economy on earth.

Well, not really. Not only were they pretty feeble producers themselves to begin with – Bill Bryson claims the Mayflower carried not a single cow or horse or plough (plow, whatever) or fishing line – but the Massachusetts colonists had some peculiar views about business. Read more

VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

By Esther Bintliff and Claire Jones in London, with contributions from FT writers and editors in Davos.

All times GMT. This post should update automatically every few minutes, but it may take longer on mobile devices.

19.32 NEWS JUST IN. Lifen Zhang, editor-in-chief of FTChinese, writes that World Economic Forum officials are open to moving the date of next year’s event so that it does not clash with Chinese New Year.

The absence of Chinese senior officials – who stayed away from Davos this year due to the forum’s clash with Chinese lunar new year festivities – has been something of an embarrassment for organisers.
Especially this year, when there will be the once-a-decade leadership shuffle in China, it made sense for senior Chinese officials to stay home and celebrate the new year at home, where they can be be seen with the people during the festivities.
Now it appears that the World Economic Forum is open to moving the annual Davos gathering to an earlier date, possibly in mid-January, to ease the way for Chinese leaders to attend.

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Esther Bintliff

An Occupy WEF protestor builds an igloo to protest against against the World Economic Forum (WEF) on January 23, 2012 in the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos. Photo: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

As highlighted in Gillian Tett’s post last night, and Jasmine Whitbread’s post in our rolling blogincome inequality is a big issue demanding the attention of Davos delegates this year, whether they like it or not.

So, we organised a quick email Q&A with David Roth, the spokesman for OccupyWEF, asking him to tell us why he’s protesting this year and what he hopes to achieve. Here’s what he had to say. Do add your comments below. Read more