Davos Notebook

Davos Man turns 40

Davos Man2 Many happy returns or midlife crisis?

The annual talkfest in the Alps records its 40th birthday this year but the rich and powerful will hardly be in celebratory mood as problems pile up in the post-crisis world.

How to withdraw the trillions of dollars in stimulus that helped the world avoid a rerun of the Great Depression, without spooking markets all over again?

What to do in the face of the world’s lukewarm response to the hot topic of climate change?

How to deal with an ascendant China striding out with a new confidence on the world stage and ready to clash with the West over issues such as Google?

For ‘Davos Man’ — and 85% of participants at the World Economic Forum are still men — these are testing times.

Trust: the commodity in shortest supply

Where do I put my money?
What do I read?
Who do I listen to?
Who saw it coming?
Who made money from it?
Who will make money from it?
Who can I trust?
As Davos gets under way, my feeling from chatting with contacts and listening to conversations around me is that one thing the world economy is really suffering from right now is a crisis in trust.

Institutions failed us. Governments failed us.

Our own intuition failed most of us (George Soros said today that he protected his capital and had a satisfactory return — that’s certainly better than I did!).

Our advisers failed us.
The media failed us too.

So before we buy again, or invest again, or behave normally again, people need an answer to the fundamental question — where can I invest my trust.