Life is getting back to normal in the Swiss ski resort of Davos now that the world’s movers and shakers have packed up their things and gone.
For five days, it hosted leading international business and political figures in a World Economic Forum overshadowed by the global downturn. Pledges were made to strive for a new world trade deal and guard against protectionism. There was even a call to reform the economic system itself! But delegates also found time to share their woes. “Quite often the effect is that they get more and more excited in a positive sense about the virtues of globalisation,” said Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. But he added: “This time, they have got more depressed as they learned about the problems that each of them faced. So, in that sense, it almost surely has contributed to the deepening of the gloom.” With the world economy in its worst state since the Second World War, gloom was inevitable as the big names gathered in Switzerland. Headlines were also made by the shouting match between Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israel’s President Shimon Peres over the Gaza military campaign. And there were warnings that economic turmoil and measures taken to address it, could heighten the risk of social unrest.Protesters ensured their voice was heard at Davos, accusing bankers, business leaders and politicians of creating the crisis and sending them the bill.