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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 10:11 GMT
World Economic Forum: Can it help restore confidence?
The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is underway in the Swiss resort of Davos with unprecedented security.

The Swiss authorities say any aircraft making unauthorised flights over Davos could be shot down.

A major part of the discussions at the forum will be how to restore confidence in the global economy.

The United States led war against terrorism could soon lead to military action in Iraq.

This could pose a further threat to an economic system already shaken by stock market falls, corporate scandals, and threatened by poor economic growth in many parts of the world.

How do you think confidence in the global economy can be restored? Has your trust in world business and political leaders been shaken?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction

There must be a certain amount of balance in this world

Ron Brandenburg, the Netherlands
The world of today is a dangerous place to live in because of its human predators. If we truly want a world with a minimum of disorder where our children can live in peace and without fear of the future we have to change the fundamentals of our economy in the first place so it will lose its ability to divide the world into excessive wealthy and extreme poor countries. There must be a certain amount of balance in this world to preserve the habitat for all living creatures.
Ron Brandenburg, the Netherlands

Lots of people here are whining about my government isn't doing this, the USA is the cause of everything bad in the world, capitalism is evil etc. Yet at the same time their houses are probably full of goods made by poorly paid workers in the rest of the world, they probably eat fish when cod is almost extinct, and they almost certainly drive around in cars polluting the atmosphere and causing global warming. Wake up to the fact that it is you, the consumer, that is controlling the global economy!
Russ, UK

Their ideal is to market the Western model worldwide

Pete, Canada
The corporate world will develop any country it can exploit for its own reasons. It won't operate anywhere profits can't be had. It will not discuss family or community or ideology or justice if these things alter consumer trends they need to put in place to ensure profit, ownership and growth. Their ideal is to market the Western model worldwide and they will have their way. Once the world is covered in automobiles and pavement, we can all go home at the end of our workday, to watch our coloured TVs and learn about the pending oil, plastic, food and steel shortages. Of course, that won't bother the corporations or their elite. They'll make a profitable business out of it.
Pete, Canada

In addition to solving the developed world's problems, we need to foster a culture of personal responsibility with regard to the developing world. This culture is partially existent in the USA, with many people giving large charitable donations, but is very low-key in nanny-state countries, like the Eurozone ones, because people generally assume the government will look after overseas development. However, we need to improve the developed world economies so that people will be able to give out of abundance.
Graeme Phillips, UK

A world economic forum will only restore confidence in the global economy if it works for all the people of the globe and not under orders from and in the interests of the wealthy few. Honest representative governments are as rare in the industrialised world as they are in the currently excluded sidelined developing world. Davos is a junket and an insult to those who die right now from debt, Aids/HIV, hunger, and lack of the basics for living.
Maire, Ireland

The greater threat to mankind doesn't come from terrorism but rather from a blinkered view that we can continually plunder Earth's already diminishing resources

Robert Antony, England
Let's just say, for arguments sake, the world economy grows at a steady 3% per year. With that figure at hand, production and consumption doubles in 24 years. And, after another 14 years is three times bigger still. After 47 years it has quadrupled - 4 times more production! 4 times more consumption! These figures may delight economists and business men but the Earth's capacity to sustain perpetual growth is questionable. The greater threat to mankind doesn't come from terrorism but rather from a blinkered view that we can continually plunder Earth's already diminishing resources to fuel our insatiable appetite for consumer goods.
Robert Antony, England

I would like to say that I am as a Swiss American, proud and pleased that the Swiss are making an attempt; as conference host, to engender insightful discussion about these vitally important world issues. It is clear that it is something that is important because it is showing the world that for whatever opinion someone may have; at least it is promoting some useful discussion.
Daniel W. Furrer, United States of America

Given the nature of the concerns driving market downturn, we should look to confidence in the global economy being restored by changing the culture of corporate governance. Executives are being presented with the wrong incentives-large share options, large bonuses and golden parachutes all encourage unsustainable expansion to inflate the share price of their firm; this ultimately leads to the kind of problems (Enron, Worldcom) we are observing at the moment.
Dave, Oxford, UK

What an extraordinary thing it is to watch these groups meet for the 33rd time (or 34th) and still in the fanciest resorts and spouting the same meaningless phrases. There is no way humans will ever figure out how to correct the fact that many want to get wealthy by doing nothing and many others just want a decent job. The world is an oligarchical mess still talking about democracy, etc. etc. This stuff is boring and meaningless.
megan sweet, usa

We are no better than puppets on a string, held by corporate warlords and their lackeys in political power. How can one regain confidence to bring economic stability, when leaders of two major powers are bent on war. Unless we change our attitude about political compromise, we can't help restore economic confidence.
Khalid Rahim, Canada

Capitalism is like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Its ideals of liberty and free enterprise are all very well. Its realities are plain to see - extreme greed, rich getting richer, poor getting poorer, wildly swinging stock markets and commodity prices, economic instability, gross human and other exploitations, encouragement of consumerism and self indulgence, dependency on scarce resources, encouragement of debt at all levels. Is any of this making us any happier? I don't think so, but they keep pushing it don't they. This is called progress. Where exactly are we progressing to?
Laurence, England

I think more attention should be given to the WORLD SOCIAL FORUM in Porto Alegre. It is looking for answers to the worlds biggests problems and not how to exploit people around the world in a PR friendly fashion
Charles Latimer, USA

I would like to say that I, as a Swiss American, am proud and pleased that the Swiss are making an attempt; as conference host, to engender insightful discussion about these vitally important world issues. It is clear that it is something that is important because it is showing the world that it is promoting some useful discussion.
Daniel W. Furrer, USA

The important unasked question is how can we reconcile the illogic of production overcapacity and overconsumption for the few, and dire need and suffering for the many? That is the question that those gathered at Davos should be asking and answering, for it is the correct answers to this fundamental question that will give prosperity to the people of the world.
C. Alexander Brown, Canada

Get your facts straight before you spout off about the huge subsidies given to US Farmers. The only farms still in existence in the US are the large corporate farmers that are happily controlled (and given benefits) by the government. Before we worry about the rest of the world ( who seem to hate us but never minds the money we shell out) we should worry about our own economy, which is terrible.
Emily, USA

The U economy grew with some 4.7% in the last quarter, this puts the annual growth rate at some 3.4%. That is not bad at all, and seeing that the US economy is the world's motor we should maybe not worry so much.
Jose Fernandez, Netherlands

I understand the corruption issue, but beyond that I don't understand the argument against big business. Most become big because people willing buy their products and work for them. People aren't being marched by gunpoint into Wal-Mart anywhere in this world and told to buy something or to work there. People shop there and work there because they WANT to. I presume they figure they are better off with the jobs than without them.
Tara, USA

A more peaceful world will certainly contribute to economic progress

Prasad Metta, Hyderabad, India
World leaders should also focus on the political aspect of the world's economic problems. Terrorism should be defeated not by killing people, but by just and equitable foreign policies. A more peaceful world will certainly contribute to economic progress.
Prasad Metta, Hyderabad, India

The economic model of the Global Economy is fundamentally flawed, and only a few people are not in denial about this. We need a system of zero growth which favours the people who actually do the work. Capitalism will surely fall, as the size and "resources" of the Earth are not infinite.
Steve S, USA

My trust in the global economy will be restored when it becomes morally and legally wrong for individuals and corporations to wield the power that comes from extreme wealth. Extreme concentrations of wealth skew the markets and even the most benevolent corporations end up making dangerous decisions. Retain space for ambition, yes, but let's have the markets do their job and get rid of the corporate equivalent of gang rule!
Simon, Canada

The problem with the global economy today is western hypocrisy and double standard. Both the EU and the US are seen to be the champions of free trade, yet at the same time they give massive subsidies to their own farmers and industries. This makes it very difficult for developing nations to compete and it means their people are constantly trapped in the poverty cycle.
John, Canada

I think my trust has increased since scandals have been made public due to the high vigilance given to this subject matter. Corporate scandals and bad economic times are at the forefront of the news, which makes it a lot tougher for illegal practices to slip by.
Denise, USA

It is naive to expect the continuous return on investment that we experienced in the late 1990s

Victor, USA
From a layman's point of view, I think it is naive to expect the continuous return on investment that we experienced in the late 1990s. During the down portion of the economic cycle we had better become accustomed to dealing with something like one to three percent growth. In addition, regulatory agencies need to crack down on the Enrons of the world, and not just in a token manner.
Victor, USA

Can confidence in the global economy be restored? I think this is Mission Impossible. Good luck in any case!
Esko Jantti, Hungary

What global economy is being talked about? The Davos thing is but a PR action for those who still believe in a Marxist kind of progress. No businessman in his right senses will act against his own nature, and his nature is all about making profit. Any other impression can only be accounted for by the enormous boost of information and communication technologies we have witnessed over the past 20 years.
Lisa, Moscow, Russia

My trust in business leaders and multi-corporations is exactly the same now as it was two years ago. I trust them to be greedy, morally bankrupt and not to give a damn about anything other than their own salaries.
Rhiannon, UK

I loathe this nonsense about threat from terrorism equals current economic market slowdown. 81% of top fund decisions these days are done via computer models, which use fundamentals in the logistical decision making (risk threat from terror acts is very far down the list). However, when the fundamentals have corrected themselves by 2005 (corporate bank debt over exposure, over supply of manufacturing goods and services, external reliance on capital flows), the wars etc will sure make a good political fall back position (blame game). Any one remember 1992 ? I sure do.
Ian, UK

A global vote of no confidence for the virtually omnipotent, capital-crazy, government leaders

Al Neaber,UK
The pre-WEF survey says it all - a global vote of no confidence for the virtually omnipotent, capital-crazed government leaders who continue to pander to the needs of big business with delight, whilst ignoring the voices and needs of the majority. No faith or trust will be restored (if it ever existed) until politicians and business leaders prove that they are not only making an effort to listen to, but really beginning to act in the interests of the public. This means seriously addressing poverty, human rights abuses, corporate ethics and accountability and climate change.
Al Neaber, Leeds, UK

Socialists and nationalists would like to divide up the economic and political world into "good guys" and "bad guys". For them, "trust" is something that they sell to the public. So the question is really, "Do we want a world where we have to "trust" our "leaders"? Or do we want a world where our leaders have to earn our trust?
Vig, UK

Whenever real change is promised it usually turns out to be nothing more than a marketing exercise

Pete, UK
There are too many reasons to list here why my trust in most western government/business leaders has been crushed. One of them however is that whenever real change is promised, it usually turns out to be nothing more than a marketing exercise. When they sincerely put aside their own short-term, self-serving aims for the greater good, then I'll stop being so cynical.
Pete, UK

Confidence in markets will only be fully restored when the threat from terrorists is virtually eliminated. How can people be expected to concentrate on business when they're worried about hijackings, mass murder, chemical and biological attacks, and nuclear fallout? Corporate scandals will always be with us. People pursuing money are prone to be greedy; no surprise there. Poor economic growth in some parts of the world can be alleviated by honest, representative governments helped by the industrialized nations.
Chris, US

To Chris from US: I respect your point of view, but it seems you have bought into exactly what those who control the wealth want you to think. While you blame the nebulous threat of future terrorist action on our economic woes the rich simply count their money and prepare to consolidate their power even more.
Scott, Philly, US

In this age of globalization, disruption of the economy in any part of the world (especially in leading, developed, industrial nations) triggers serious reversals and ramifications in the global, financial and economic systems. We saw the effects of economic downturns a few years ago in Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, in other parts of the world, especially in the West. We are already seeing the effects of the Venezuelan crisis in the rising price of oil in the United States and the impact of economic turmoil in Brazil and Argentina on South America. So, a stable and growing world economy is vital for global growth, stability and prosperity.
Igonikon Jack, USA



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