One of the excitements of being a Davos delegate is when you are presented with all your kit at the beginning of the forum, including the distinctive World Economic Forum black shoulder bag. How useful, how prestigious – you think.
However, in my experience, it is a potentially disastrous error actually to use this must-have fashion accessory.
The reason is that there are thousands of other identical bags in circulation. As delegates move in and out of the Congress Centre, and to and from parties – perhaps even consuming alcohol – the potential for confusion is massive.
I witnessed an alarming example of this problem at the party last night to launch the World Post, a new internet based magazine. At the coat-check queue, I encountered an eminent American academic, looking a little flustered. Somebody had made off with her Davos bag, presumably mistaking it for their own hold-all. Worse, the professor’s bag contained her passport, her hotel key and her computer. Under the circumstances, she seemed admirably cool. When I left, she was still rummaging hopelessly among the discarded coats. Read more
By John Gapper
An efficient and functioning internet can boost GDP, partly by enabling small and medium-sized companies to sell and source raw materials more widely, according to a Boston Consulting Group report unveiled at Davos. Read more
FT senior columnist Gillian Tett reports on why business and governments are at loggerheads over where growth will come from, with business saying it is not ready to invest, yet confidence in governments is low.
Chris Giles, economics editor, finds a mood of optimism among economic experts on the first day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, but concerns remain over the strength of the recovery.
By Martin Arnold, Banking Editor, in Davos
The first of many debates about China at Davos this year made an unexpectedly hostile debut this morning as Zhang Xin, head of Beijing’s biggest property developer Soho, was put on the spot over the country’s crackdown on corruption.
“Your industry is one of the most corrupt in China,” said moderator Andrew Browne, China editor of the Wall Street Journal, as he asked Ms Zhang to share her views on the issue. Read more
The West is forever petrified of Chinese and Indian growth that might destroy advanced economy standards of living. Politicians fuel that fear. In the UK, David Cameron, prime minister, talks repeatedly about a “global race” and the need for sacrifices so Britain can succeed in that race. His predecessor Gordon Brown used to repeat one of his favourite statistics that there were 4 million graduates a year coming out of China and India and only 250,000 in the UK.
In a panel on the world of work, business leaders with experience in working in both advanced and emerging markets had a very different story to tell. There was a huge shortage of skilled workers, they all agreed, and a surfeit of unskilled. Emerging economies education systems were not up to scratch and there was still a need for ex pats and a lot of investment in basic education in emerging markets. Read more
This is not the dog in question
I am happy to be here in Davos. The only cloud on the horizon is that the room next door to me at the Hotel Cresta appears to be occupied by a dog. I could hear it barking agitatedly through the walls. The prospects for a good night’s sleep – so vital when you are planning to rub shoulders with world leaders – seem dim. Read more
Here’s our reading to take you through to the weekend Read more
Friday’s events from the World Economic Forum feature an address by Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, and sessions looking at the challenges faced by, and presented by, the fast-changing Arab world. Reports from FT writers in Davos and by Ben Fenton, Lina Saigol and Lindsay Whipp in London
17.03: The Davos Live Blog is closing down now but for more reading and insight on today’s events, please visit the FT’s in depth page on the World Economic Forum.
16.41: Gideon Rachman, titular proprietor of this blog, has written his surmise from the earlier session on Syria.
16.16: Asked by the Amercian moderator of his panel session about corruption and banking regulation, Nigeria’s central bank governor Sanusi displays a little frustration:
He said: “We are the only country which has taken people out of banks and put them in jail. No bankers in your countries have gone to jail.”
16.12: Martin Wolf has recorded his view on the politics and economics at play in a “low-intensity” Davos this year:
Lord Paul Boateng, former chief secretary to the treasury and the former UK high commissioner to South Africa, answers questions about his first trip to Davos.
1. Is this your first trip to Davos?
I have to confess that it is. I’ve reached a fairly advanced age without ever having felt Davos was for me. I have been an active participant, however, both as a cabinet minister and a diplomat at the spin offs in Mumbai and Cape Town where the WEF reaches out to the rest of the world.
2. What’s the best thing about going to Davos?
If you’ve got an idea or a product to sell then this is a quite unique market place. There are lots of serious people on the lookout for the next big idea or opportunity. A voracious media circus with the promise of global coverage also helps. Read more
Two days is apparently not enough for all the talking that needs to be done, so here we are entering Davos Day Three. But as our morning reading shows, there are some worries that delegates are not ready yet to discuss.
Gillian Tett in her column this week highlights cyber attacks. She compares the “whispers in the corridors” with that of 2007, when there was a similar fear of articulating the credit bubble.
Here’s more from the WEF (you can find the FT stories on our in-depth page and many blog posts, including our live coverage on our World blog):
David Cameron, UK prime minister, had more to say on the country’s relationship with the EU and sought common ground with German chancellor Angela Merkel among others.
The FT’s Martin Wolf takes Cameron to task when he blogs that the prime minister may have set the UK on the path to an exit although he really wants to remain within the EU. Read more
The world desk’s reading picks from around the world… Read more
IMF chief Christine Lagarde at Davos (AFP)
As our colleagues in the mountains don boots, bobble hats and gloves for day two of Davos, here’s some reading material from the comfort of the FT’s London office to help you limber up for Thursday’s talk-fest.
David Cameron’s speech yesterday on Britain’s future in Europe provided much fodder for journalists – with reaction from leaders across the continent and further. Le Monde’s Marc Roche takes the theme of tact to interpret his speech, while in Der Spiegel Christoph Scheuermann argues that Cameron “missed an opportunity on Wednesday to haul Britain back to the centre of Europe“. The New York Times’ Andrew Higgins writes that “while the acute phase of the financial crisis has passed, the challenge to Europe’s mission and even its membership has not”. Cameron will be taking to a podium again this morning, this time in Davos. Read more
It’s the first day of the World Economic Forum. We’ll keep you up to date. By Tom Burgis, Claire Jones and Ben Fenton in London with dispatches from FT correspondents in Davos. All times are GMT.
18.26 That’s it for the first day of Davos live.
Among the talking points were monetary policy, currency wars and that speech by David Cameron.
The British PM arrived in Switzerland today and is due to talk at 10.30am local time (9.30am UK time) tomorrow.
18.03 Unsurprisingly, the “resilient dynamism” (see 10.09) theme of this year’s Davos hasn’t gone down too well with the British press pack:
17.48 The IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde took the stage after Mario Monti and she’s just taken a swipe at Cameron:
17.40 Gideon Rachman’s analysis of the Italian PM’s reaction to Cameron’s speech:
Gideon Rachman: His line that Europe does not need reluctant Europeans will be spun as anti-Cameron. But, in context, I think Monti was trying to be positive.
The Italian PM said Cameron was right that “prosperity and growth have to be priority number one” and that he was confident “Britain will vote to stay inside” in the event of a referendum. He also said it’s good that Cameron will ask the “fundamental” question of whether nations are in or out and that this will provoke Brits to make a proper analysis of costs and benefits.
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
By Esther Bintliff in London, with contributions from FT writers and editors in Davos.
All times GMT.
18.30: That’s all from us for now folks! But you can stay up to date with all the FT’s coverage of the World Economic Forum 2012 at www.ft.com/davos. For now, we’ll leave you with a quick recap of some of today’s top news and views:
- Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, put it bluntly when she got out her handbag and told a WEF panel: “I’m here with my little bag to collect a bit of money” (see the 11.23 post)
- At a global economy session, Chris Giles reported that the debate was “more sober than the general mood in Davos of increasing optimism”, with Donald Tsang, chief executive of Hong Kong, saying: “I have never been as scared as now” (see 11.45)
- Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand’s first female PM, was studiously vague when asked by Gideon Rachman whether and when her brother Thaksin would be allowed to return to Thailand (see 12.30)
- In his round-up on Davos 2012, Martin Wolf noted that Mario Draghi has emerged as the hero of the hour (see 13.15), a point confirmed by Lionel Barber, the FT’s editor, in his video interview (15.20)
- “Doha is dead. Long live the multilateral trading system” – Chris Giles on the message the World Trade Organisation wanted to send from Davos on Saturday (see 17.30)
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.
By Esther Bintliff and Claire Jones in London, with contributions from FT editors and writers in Davos. All times GMT.
18.49 That’s it for today’s live blog.
The eurozone crisis and income inequality remained the key issues on day 2.
What’s in store for delegates this evening?
For those that still have the stamina to tackle the big issues, there’s a panel on what will emerge as the new European identity in the 21stcentury, and another discussion with no fewer than eight Nobel laureates on the state of the world.
For those looking for a little light relief, Paulo Coelho talks on the art of storytelling.
Join us tomorrow from 07.30 for day 3 of Davos.
18.45 The FT’s banking editor Patrick Jenkins spoke to Jamie Dimon, the straight-talking chief executive of JPMorgan, this afternoon. Mr Dimon revealed that the US bank had considered pulling its operations in the eurozone’s more troubled member states. Here are a selection of the best quotes. Read more
VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images
As highlighted in Gillian Tett’s post last night, and Jasmine Whitbread’s post in our rolling blog, income 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
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
Welcome to the FT’s rolling coverage of the World Economic Forum. By Esther Bintliff and Claire Jones in London, with contributions from FT editors and writers in Davos.
18.30 That’s it for day 1 of our Davos rolling blog.
The eurozone crisis dominated proceedings, but Merkel’s speech was a bit of a let-down by most accounts, notably Martin Wolf’s (see post at 17.25).
Income inequality was another talking point – see posts at 13.45 and 15.00 and Gillian Tett’s blog here.
This evening delegates can catch a screening of “The Lady” with director Luc Besson, find out their social network status, or share a nightcap with “the princess of Africa”, singer and president of the Princess of Africa Foundation Yvonne Ntombizodwa Chaka Chaka.
Join us again tomorrow at 07.30 when we’ll bring you more trenchant analysis, quotes (both vacuous and profound), and hats from the slopes of Davos.
18.11 A tip from the FT’s banking editor Patrick Jenkins: if you’re going to Davos never book a hotel in Klosters. Read more
Workers clean the stage of the main Congress Hall in Davos on Tuesday. Photo: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images
The World Economic Forum kicks off on Wednesday, and the FT will be running a rolling blog to bring you the latest news and views from the Alpine resort-turned-world’s-biggest-talking-shop.
Among the attendees will be some of the world’s most powerful, most wealthy, and most learned men and women. Yet their collective profile could hardly be at a lower ebb. If Davos Man walked, his pinstripe suit would surely be tattered, his bowler hat squashed, his nose a little bloodied. Read more