Thanks for sending in all those questions to my post—Fear in Davos. I went around today and asked many of them at the sessions I attended and to people I talked to over coffee, lunch, breakfast and just around the Conference Center.
Here goes in no particular order:
Everyone is terrified of a steep fall in the dollar. Right now, global money is pouring into dollar assets because of a flight to safety by individuals and a flight to self-interest by Chinese and other central banks. They hold so much of their own assets in dollar-denominated debt, they fear it disappearing in a dollar collapse.
Everyone at Davos is asking— What if the Obama economic and financial inititatives don’t work?
Many politicians and policymakers are talking about the future but their solutions are conventional, not innovative. Old categories are being discussed—taxes, government spending, bailouts. There are many sessions on social media, design, innovation, new business models—but they are not connected to the sessions on economic policy. There is a disconnect.
Many people hope China will step up to save the world. Except the Chinese here who are not volunteering for the job. If anything, the Chinese are being wildly optimistic about their growth—and people don’t believe them.
Left and right battles are occurring below the surface of public conversation between those liberals who believe big government spending and regulation will save the global economy and those conservatives who don’t believe it but won’t say so publicly. There is little discussion about alternatives—smart, small government.
Please send in more questions for me to ask.