Is Davos still relevant?

The World Economic Forum in Davos bears the motto "Creating a shared future in a fractured world". Journalists disagree as to whether the economic and social players gathered at the forum can really create a better future for the planet, but they do agree on one thing: a lot has changed since the meetings in Davos began.

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Daily Sabah (TR) /

Sharing increasingly difficult

The motto of the summit will be hard to realise, Daily Sabah predicts:

“Paradoxically enough, The conventional economic ideals of Davos based on neoliberal integration are most eagerly embraced in the current environment by the chief aspiring global power coming from a tradition of market socialism. Yet, whatever the expressed positions of major global powers, key economic agents are well aware that they need to brace their corporation for a world of increased protectionism, friction between regional blocks, a toughening U.S.-Chinese rivalry and a complex network of shifting bilateral alliances. Creating a shared future will prove increasingly difficult in a more fractured global system across a multiplicity of axes.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Free trade and nationalism compatible

Davos teaches us that the old certainties no longer apply in today's economic system, La Repubblica writes:

“For decades the West cherished the illusion that there could be no free and flourishing economy outside free political systems. But yesterday India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed up in Davos with a new philosophy. ... The world's biggest democracy had come to Davos - a democracy that threatens to drift into nationalism in a way that has left the entire region alarmed. It came and promoted a free market, a globalisation that is 'losing its shine'. ... When Modi began to talk in Hindi, hundreds of hands reached hectically for headphones [to hear the translation]. A scene that stands symbolically for a world that is having a hard time understanding that it is losing the centre it had believed was so secure.”

Le Temps (CH) /

Davos can point the way ahead

Davos can help pave the way for a new social contract, writes Stéphane Benoit-Godet, editor-in-chief of Le Temps:

“Many people had hoped that technology would be able to create a new paradigm by giving everyone access to knowledge. This project has now failed. Technology is no longer the solution but just another problem. The companies that dominate the world of innovation impose consensus on their members, encourage addictive consumption of their products and disrupt public debate. .. So how to gather the forces that can bring about a sustainable development which respects individual freedoms? ... It's time for a new social contract. And Davos is one of the places where it will be defined.”

L'Opinion (FR) /

Black and white thinking blocks solutions

The critics of capitalism are refusing to take part in an open discussion, L'Opinion complains commenting on Oxfam's report:

“What we were hoping for was a lively debate about the idea that great wealth undermines the fight against poverty. Instead ... We would have also liked to see some comment on the fact that the super-rich trio under fire [Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett] is by no means an heirs' club, and that two of its members have signed a moral commitment - 'the giving pledge' - to divest themselves of half of their fortunes. But those taking aim at Davos aren't interested in such nuances. A pity, because with their oversimplifying arguments they are hindering the debate about the necessary steps for making globalisation more inclusive. Does all the blame really lie with the billionaires?”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

The poor are getting richer too

The Tages-Anzeiger also criticises the Oxfam report, saying it neglects one important development:

“The organisation promotes its activities with the slogan 'For a just world without poverty.' But the report pays too little attention to the fact that the world is making measurable progress in the fight against poverty. Since 1990 the number of people living in extreme poverty has been reduced by at least half. The World Bank estimates that around 10 percent of the world's population lives in extreme poverty today. Before the turn of the millennium that figure stood at 30 percent. So the real message about global inequality is in fact encouraging: yes, the rich are getting ever richer. But the poor are not getting poorer. Quite the contrary.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

A forum for narcissists

The reality of the situation is often covered up in Davos, Corriere della Sera believes:

“Dozens of leaders will make an appearance, and in most cases it will be impossible to distinguish between their personal narcissism and a (legitimate) love for their country. ... On Friday, for instance, the US president will explain the meaning of his slogan 'America First'. ... After that the leaders of Italy, France and Germany will have an easy time convincing their listeners of the legitimacy of their approach. They plan to make their speeches on the same day and be applauded for their efforts to keep global markets open. ... But without the purchases made by Trump's 'protectionist America' and with its trade deficit of 450 billion dollars the Eurozone could face a new recession. But presumably Merkel won't say that in Davos.”