• Switzerland's news in English
 

Davos elites want reform of 'outdated' capitalism

Published: 23 Jan 2012 09:07 GMT+01:00

Economic and political elites meeting this week at the Swiss resort of Davos will be asked to urgently find ways to reform a capitalist system that has been described as "outdated and crumbling."

"We have a general morality gap, we are over-leveraged, we have neglected to invest in the future, we have undermined social coherence, and we are in danger of completely losing the confidence of future generations," said Klaus Schwab, host and founder of the annual World Economic Forum.

"Solving problems in the context of outdated and crumbling models will only dig us deeper into the hole.

"We are in an era of profound change that urgently requires new ways of thinking instead of more business-as-usual," the 73-year-old said, adding that "capitalism in its current form, has no place in the world around us."

Some 1,600 economic and political leaders, including 40 heads of states and governments, will be asked to come up with new ideas as they converge at eastern Switzerland's chic ski station for the 42nd edition of the five-day World Economic Forum which opens on Wednesday.

The eurozone's failure to get a grip on its debt crisis and the spectre this is casting over the global economy will dominate discussions.

"The main issue would be the preoccupation with the global economy. There will be relatively less conversation about social responsibility and environment issues -- those tend to come to the fore when the economy is doing well," John Quelch, dean of the China European International Business School, told AFP.

"The main conversation will be about a deficit of leadership in Europe as a prime problem," he added.

The annual talk-shop comes barely a week after the eurozone's reputation took a further battering, as ratings agency Standard and Poor's downgraded the credit-worthiness of nine eurozone countries, including stripping France of its triple-A grade.

While saved from the downgrade embarrassment, the region's economic powerhouse Germany has nevertheless been forced to lower its growth forecast, dragged down by its neighbours' debt woes and weaker demand from emerging markets.

The forum will centre on the issue from the beginning, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel opens with a keynote speech.

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde will also give a broader insight into the international economic impact of the eurozone crisis.

The World Bank slashed its global economic growth forecasts to 2.5 percent for 2012 and 3.1 percent in 2013 -- sharply lower than previous estimates of 3.6 percent for both years.

Beyond economic issues, the forum will address a plethora of other subjects.

Sessions will range from scientific discoveries expected to shape 2012, to a discussion on the differences perceived when a Beethoven sonata is played on historic and modern instruments, to how virtual games can be harnessed for innovation in the real world.

It will also hear about the profound changes in the Arab world after a series of revolutions swept across the region in 2011. New Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Egyptian presidential candidate Amre Moussa will both be present at the meeting.

Political issues in other regions will be addressed, with the participation of Mexican Felipe Calderon, his Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan and Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the fledgling South Sudan.

Up to 5,000 Swiss soldiers have been mobilised to secure the location, and the air space around eastern Switzerland's Davos region will also be severely restricted during the week.

But anti-capitalist demonstrators are planning to make their presence felt.

The Occupy WEF protestors have built igloos in the middle of the village perched 1,500 metres above sea level and are planning a protest against those they call "self-proclaimed elites."

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Greece crisis
Greece 'wants tax assets hidden in Swiss banks'
Photo: Leon Neal / AFP

Greece 'wants tax assets hidden in Swiss banks'

Athens wants a tax amnesty deal for Greeks who have stashed cash in Swiss banks, in a bid to bring much-needed revenue to the debt-laden country, a Swiss newspaper reported on Sunday. READ  

Blatter won't travel until 'everything cleared up'
Sepp Blatter. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Blatter won't travel until 'everything cleared up'

Sepp Blatter, the Swiss head of Fifa, the Zurich-based world body for football mired in corruption allegations, told a German newspaper on Sunday that he won't take travel risks until the situation is "cleared up". READ  

Federer through to the last 16 of Wimbledon
Federer on his way to victory over Groth. Photo: Tim Ireland/AP

Federer through to the last 16 of Wimbledon

Seven-time champion Roger Federer defeated big-serving Australian Sam Groth to reach the Wimbledon last 16 on Saturday. READ  

Swiss cut bus and train fares as ozone spikes
Revellers throw water during a "giant water battle against the heatwave" in Lausanne. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Swiss cut bus and train fares as ozone spikes

Regional authorities in Switzerland temporarily cut bus and train fares Saturday to encourage people to leave their cars at home, as a scorching heatwave sent ozone pollution levels soaring. READ  

Solar Impulse 2 reaches Hawaii to make history
Pilots Bertrand Piccard (L) and Andre Borschberg, celebrate after Borschberg landed at Kalaeloa Airport, Hawaii, on Friday. Photo: Eugene Tanner / AFP

Solar Impulse 2 reaches Hawaii to make history

The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft completed a historic flight in its quest to circle the globe without consuming a drop of fuel, touching down gracefully in Hawaii on Friday after the most arduous leg of its journey. READ  

Wimbledon 2015
Verdasco victory sends Wawrinka to fourth round
Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP

Verdasco victory sends Wawrinka to fourth round

Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka reached the fourth round of the Wimbledon tennis tournament on Friday with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win over Spain's Fernando Verdasco. READ  

Solar Impulse 2 nears Hawaii on historic flight
Borschberg in the cockpit of the solar plane. Photo: Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse 2 nears Hawaii on historic flight

After more than four and a half days of flying across the Pacific and setting a record for solo flight, Switzerland’s Solar Impulse 2 airplane was set to arrive in Hawaii on Friday on its epic journey around the world. READ  

Sponsors will flee Fifa without reforms: lawyer
Photo: AFP

Sponsors will flee Fifa without reforms: lawyer

A former top Fifa official who left after criticizing its president Sepp Blatter has warned that big sponsors will start leaving world football's Zurich-based governing body unless major reforms are undertaken. READ  

Commuters stuck in trains without electricity
Photo: Kecko

Commuters stuck in trains without electricity

Heat took its toll on morning rail commuters on Geneva-Lausanne and Olten-Zurich routes on Friday as trains were blocked due to problems with overhead electrical wires. READ  

Swiss baby boom boosted by immigration
Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Swiss baby boom boosted by immigration

Switzerland is bucking the trend in the rest of Europe with a rising birth rate bolstered by immigration, new federal figures show. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
National weather office extends danger alerts as heatwave takes hold
National
Most severe heatwave in Switzerland since 2003 on the way
Travel
Bogglingly expensive Geneva club sandwiches remain 'priciest in world'
Politics
Anti-immigration nationalist party remains most popular: poll
National
Greek finance minister slams Swiss over lack of tax evasion info
Business & Money
Insects proposed for sale in Swiss supermarkets next year
Sponsored Article
Geneva's revolutionary marketing education
National
'Oh God — I'm coming': noisy lovers' complaint goes public
National
Canton of Ticino threatens closing Italy border to asylum seekers
Sponsored Article
Swiss chocolate with a story: Blondel
National
Just in case: Swiss National Bank prepares for Grexit 'crisis'
National
Russian crisis fuelled by sanctions threaten 40,000 Swiss jobs: study
National
Art Basel: Art for art's sake — or to make an investment?
National
New survey ranks Zurich Europe's priciest city for expatriates
National
Quarter of residents in Switzerland 'have multiple homes'
Features
Veggie lovers and 'flexitarians' challenge Swiss meat-eating habits
National
Forest officials struggle to save Switzerland's dying ash trees
Education
Historian finds ancient Egyptian papyrus texts in Basel uni library
National
Seven large Swiss employers back 'flexible work' charter
National
Basel police rescue of ducks forces closure of A2 motorway
National
Mother and daughter die as rain storms lash central Switzerland
Sport
'Stan the man' Wawrinka: French Open triumph 'completely crazy'
Culture
Expat's Zurich 'then and now' video shows how little the city has changed
National
Phoney Geneva police officers rob tourists and UN staff
Sport
Blatter's abrupt resignation seen as a 'stunning capitulation'
Features
Cleanup crews head to ski resorts to keep Swiss mountains tidy
Culture
Interlaken museum showcases works by Picasso using Caran d'Ache pencils
National
Low interest rates give tenants right to seek rent reductions in Switzerland
Sport
Switzerland's Blatter fends off critics to win fifth term as Fifa president
National
Agricultural researchers discover why Swiss cheese has holes
Culture
Swiss filmmaker returns home to shoot 'gender-fluid' film in Ticino
Features
Severed rope recalls Matterhorn's first ascent 150 years ago
National
Top Swiss court refuses to recognize child's two gay 'fathers'
National
Woman's scoop for Ticino online news site: 'I killed my husband'
National
Four Swiss bathing areas 'unfit' for swimmers: Euro environmental body
Technology
Scientists from Zurich university find craters beneath Lake Neuchâtel
National
Prince William in Switzerland backs fight to protect endangered species
National
Swiss Federal Railways rely on sheep to 'mow' grass alongside tracks
Sport
Switzerland to host 2020 international ice hockey tourney
Business & Money
I never learned German: departing Credit Suisse CEO's regret
Sport
International tennis museum in US showcases Federer hologram
National
Inequality greater than most Swiss think: opinion poll for unions
National
Shooting in Switzerland leaves five dead in domestic drama near Zurich
National
Swiss Federal Railways tackle taboo subject of suicide in bid to cut deaths
National
German expats in Switzerland face discrimination: report
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

4,376
jobs available