Sunday 19 November 2017

Hamish McRae: No Murdoch, no Strauss-Kahn ... why Davos will be different this time around

IT is Davos again. The annual meeting of world leaders in the Swiss ski resort has this year a predictably sombre tone. There are notable absences. Rupert Murdoch will not be there. Nor will Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Nor will Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, celebrated by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2006. It is, as Margaret Thatcher said when she was deposed, a funny old world.

But many global leaders will be there, for it is a very efficient way of setting up a string of meetings. So the gathering will, as always, crystallise the mood of the moment. That is, of course, one of concern – and at two levels. One is the way the developed world economy is failing to recover as swiftly as seemed likely even a few months ago, with the eurozone probably back in recession. The other is the failure of our mixed market system, not just to generate growth, but to spread wealth equably.

On the first, there is not much new to say, except perhaps to note that the present wobble is very much a European phenomenon, associated with the tensions of the eurozone. The US recovery seems more secure and the emerging world continues to grow at a rapid rate. (China adds the equivalent of another Greece to the world economy every four months.)

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