• Switzerland edition
 
Davos elites want reform of 'outdated' capitalism

Davos elites want reform of 'outdated' capitalism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the Swiss resort of Davos will be asked to urgently find ways to reform a capitalist system that has been described as "outdated and crumbling."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"Solving problems in the context of outdated and crumbling models will only dig us deeper into the hole.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
Switzerland bans Dutch poultry imports
Photo: AFP

Switzerland bans Dutch poultry imports

Switzerland on Friday said it was banning chicken imports from Britain and the Netherlands, as Dutch officials said they detected bird flu on three more farms. READ  

Nazi-era art bequest to Bern museum challenged

A relative of late German art collector Cornelius Gurlitt lodged a claim on Friday for his inheritance, a Nazi-era art hoard which he has bequeathed to a museum in Switzerland's capital, a spokesman said. READ  

Davis Cup tennis finals
Federer loss offsets Wawrinka's win in Lille
Wawrinka won while Federer lost on the first fay of the Davis Cup finals. Photo: Albouy/Palexpo

Federer loss offsets Wawrinka's win in Lille

Gael Monfils stunned Roger Federer in straight sets to leave France and Switzerland level 1-1 after the first day of the Davis Cup tennis finals in Lille on Friday. READ  

HSBC Swiss unit in French tax evasion probe
Photo: AFP

HSBC Swiss unit in French tax evasion probe

HSBC Private Bank, the Swiss subsidiary of British banking group HSBC, said Friday it had been placed under formal investigation as part of a French tax fraud probe. READ  

Swiss Christmas market season set to kick off
Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, outside his Rochers de Naye 'home' overlooking Lake Geneva. Photo: Montreux tourism office

Swiss Christmas market season set to kick off

The season to be jolly in Switzerland is getting under way in earnest on Friday when some of the country’s most famous Christmas markets open for business. READ  

Wealthy Asian donor helps UN news agency
Malaysian financier Jho Low. Photo: Jho Low/Twitter

Wealthy Asian donor helps UN news agency

The Geneva-based UN news agency IRIN said Thursday it was leaving the world body to become an independent non-profit organization thanks to a cash injection from a foundation backed by an Asian billionaire. READ  

First Ebola virus patient to be treated in Geneva
Geneva university hospital (HUG) main entrance. Photo: Julien Gregario

First Ebola virus patient to be treated in Geneva

A Cuban doctor was set on Friday to become the first patient suffering from the Ebola virus to receive treatment in Switzerland. READ  

'Disabled staff member won’t lose job': Nestlé
Photo: Starlight/Wikimedia Commons

'Disabled staff member won’t lose job': Nestlé

Nestlé said on Thursday that a disabled staff member in Italy, who was initially sacked for publicly criticizing company managers over Facebook, will no longer lose her job. READ  

Study finds 'banker's oath' could spur honesty
Photo: Joseph Barrak/AFP

Study finds 'banker's oath' could spur honesty

Banks could change a business culture that “favours dishonest behaviour" by requiring their employees to take a professional oath of honesty and training programs in ethics, researchers from the University of Zurich say. READ  

Italy's PM upset over Swiss mogul's acquittal
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Italy's PM upset over Swiss mogul's acquittal

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi vowed on Thursday to change Italy's "nightmare" statute of limitation rules after the conviction of a Swiss billionaire related to nearly 3,000 asbestos deaths was overturned. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Exclusive offer: Try out home exchange
National
Swiss National Bank chief calls proposal to boost gold reserves 'fatal'
National
Mudslides kill four people in Ticino and neighbouring Italy
Culture
British X Factor star seeks internet support for Swiss Eurovision place
National
Court overturns ban by backing right for schoolgirl to wear scarf
National
Swiss ranking for English skills worsens among non-Anglo countries
Culture
Swiss model and French TV star Nabilla held for 'attempted murder'
Travel
Switzerland's Zermatt voted best ski resort in the Alps by skiers
Sport
VIDEO: FC Zurich claims crime after 'vicious' tackle hospitalizes player
Tech
Federal government announces new '.swiss' internet domain name
National
Zany emergency: Basel firefighters rescue ass stuck in manhole
Business & Money
American jury clears former UBS top executive of tax fraud
International
Switzerland ranks second to Norway in global 'prosperity' index
National
Financial regulator bans former Coop Bank CEO for three years
International
Switzerland slips in World Economic Forum's gender equality rankings
National
Job candidates unhappy with hiring process in Switzerland
National
Glacier 3000 opens new foot bridge spanning two mountains in Vaud
National
Swiss seek special Unesco heritage listing for yodelling and watchmaking
International
Switzerland regarded as best place in world for expats: global survey
National
Red faces at Migros over Hitler and Mussolini coffee cream pots
National
Quarter of workers in Switzerland 'stressed out': new survey
Travel
Lonely Planet ranks Zermatt among top places to visit in 2015
National
Majority of Swiss back proposed new immigration curbs: poll
Features
Eritrean asylum seekers find refuge in Swiss monastery town
National
Expat American professor disputes 'unjust' Swiss citizenship rejection
National
Sputtering eurozone drags down Swiss economic growth forecast
Features
Swiss-based English expat writer lauds immigrant 'brains and brawn'
International
Our survey: Switzerland third priciest for food and drink from back home
National
Zurich market gardener sets world 'record' for heaviest pumpkin
National
Report: Switzerland's residents richer than before economic crash
Features
Geneva lab sleuths use high tech to help art world uncover fakes
National
Father of Scot missing since early September fears Swiss trauma
National
Foreign women give birth to rising share of newborns: latest figures
National
'Giant's penis' bloom in Basel uni botanical garden bigger than ever
National
Switzerland's voters reject public health insurance proposal
National
Zooming foreign immigration continues to boost Swiss population
National
Scientific study rings alarm over wellbeing of Swiss cows with bells
National
Geneva MP seeks ban on charging for tap water in restaurants
Business & Money
Switzerland's residents top world financial wealth list: Allianz report
National
Saint Maurice abbey in Valais celebrates 1,500 years of history
National
Streaming movie video service Netflix arrives in Switzerland
National
Professional Chilean base jumper dives to death in Swiss Alps
Education
ETH Zurich remains top university in Europe: QS world rankings
National
Switzerland's housing vacancy rate jumps: new federal figures
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

2,042
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists
Click here for the full job description