Monday 26 September 2016

The happiest man in Davos

Published 24/01/2016 | 02:30

'Some of the super rich were concerned about market turmoil, which is economic speak for Mario Draghi (pictured) not giving away enough for rich people to keep buying shares and other assets' Photo: World Economic Forum/swiss-image.ch
'Some of the super rich were concerned about market turmoil, which is economic speak for Mario Draghi (pictured) not giving away enough for rich people to keep buying shares and other assets' Photo: World Economic Forum/swiss-image.ch

There was only one cheerful soul in the Swiss Alps last week. And we all know who that was. The unflappable Enda, our very own Heidi (Five). As the 1pc gathered at Davos to fret about how to hold onto their 99pc of the money, and to discuss how many jobs they could get rid of with the fourth industrial revolution, the mood was apparently dark.

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Some of the super rich were concerned about market turmoil, which is economic speak for Mario Draghi not giving away enough for rich people to keep buying shares and other assets.

Others are worried about China only growing at 6pc this year, when the 1pc need it to grow by double digits every year or else it might knock a few quid off all the money they could never possibly spend.

There is worry too about the EU. George Soros says it's over. The Brits could be leaving and we might have to put up borders to keep immigrants out.

The super rich aren't keen on borders. It hinders the international flow of capital, and the 1pc like to keep their money moving; someone might slap a tax on it if it stayed still for too long. But in the face of all the gloom there was Enda to cheer them up. Now, Enda had worries too, like the fact that Europe is trying to make Apple pay billions in back taxes to Ireland. Enda is in agreement with Apple that this should not happen. Their money is no good here.

And of course Enda also has an election to worry about.

Enda has so far managed to avoid discussing actual policy by limiting himself to pointing out that Fianna Fail ruined the country, and by not telling us the election date so that's the only question he gets asked wherever he goes. But the election followed him to Davos, with someone asking him if he was buying the election.

This being Davos they were possibly asking this question in an admiring way. But Enda assured them he was not.

He then went on to play a blinder, the only happy man in Davos. As they all worried about the world going to pot, Enda cheerfully assured them that Ireland was fine because we were insulated against it. Clearly Enda has an invisible cloak. So that's grand then. He also assured them that the future of Ireland is well in hand because we have Coder Dojo and the Young Scientist Exhibition. He could have added the Texaco Art Competition, the Rose of Tralee and, if all else fails, mass. Enda was so on a roll he even faced down Joseph 'Joe' Stiglitz on the austerity question, and got a grudging thumbs up from the cranky Nobel economist.

Yes, Enda totally owned Davos and didn't let any of the negativity get to him.

So why then do we worry when we see that he held face-to-face meetings with senior executives from Facebook, Google, Paypal, Uber and Microsoft, among others?

Relax. It's probably fine. He probably told them all: "I met a man called Joe. An economist, I think he was. He was holding two pints if I remember correctly. And he said, 'Enda. You've done a great job there. No matter what happens the global economy. You are insulated. Don't be worrying.'"

Sunday Independent

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