Davos debate: What can be done for the global economy?

By Reuters Staff
January 26, 2009

wefpic2With business and consumer confidence fading, the prospects for the global economy appear the worst for a generation. Amid the gathering gloom, are things really that bad? And can nothing be done to give the global growth engine a kick-start?

Reuters asked delegates at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos for their views.

33 comments

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Davos 2009 Conference Shows The World At An Economic Crossroads……
http://wcgfairfield.blogspot.com/2009/01  /davos-2009-conference-shows-world-at.h tml

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

The Golden Age in Athens was triggered by a massive debt forgiveness. The state was being dragged down by massive debt burdens. Since the bank bailouts and the ‘bad bank’ scenario effectively amount to debt forgiveness anyway, this should be extended right across society. Much of the money travels in circles anyway, so the impact would not be as great as might be imagined. This, combined with strict controls on the ability of corporations and individuals to run up debt burdens, would be a massive stimulus to developing a new economic structure based on real wealth.

Posted by David Goodfellow | Report as abusive

Perpetual economic growth, like a cancer which kills its own host, will eventually kill the planet. Economic growth benefits the rich, at the expense of the poor, and at the expense of the environment.

We need new economic indicators of well-being ie. GPI “Genuine Progress Indicators.”

A must-see film…”Who’s Counting: Sex Lies and the Global Economy.”

Posted by Lori | Report as abusive

So long as human beings continue proliferating resulting in more people chasing finite resources, the world will continue to experience shortages, poverty, and
environmental degradation. The primary human problem is
overpopulation with families that do more than replace
the two parents. What this world needs desperately is
more contraception.

Posted by Jim Hardesty | Report as abusive

Eliminate fractional banking and the Fed. Only Congress should have the power to coin money (not private banks), and that money should be backed by gold so that it cannot be inflated and its value eroded away. Interest rates should “float” according to free market conditions and free market demand.

Have a flat tax or a value-added tax, and have the government live within its means.

Realize that everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and NOTHING more…everything else is a privilege, gained by hard work.

Limit government to protecting the individuals rights enumerated above and providing self-defense of country only. Country fostering a friendship to all other countries, but an ally to none.

Posted by Cathy | Report as abusive

It’s not a question of what CAN be done as of what SHOULD be done fir the global economy. From the dot com bubble and onwards, our global economic network started derailing itself, disorienting the seekers of sustainable growth. What is sustainable growth, is it achievable, realistic and will it favor our world. Our Global Economy needs a re-establishment of ideas goals. The environment should have a dominant role in this new Economic era and Governments should intensify cooperation in an effort to align policies and tackle threats.

Posted by Dimitrios Georgiou | Report as abusive

To achieve economic revival, the disease has first to be dealt with. Hence, the radical tenor of some of the comments. Yet common sense suggests the opposite of radical surgery: back to basics.
Olivier Blanchard, Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund, argues that uncertainty is the big problem. His response: pull all the levers hard and hope something works.
To the contrary, faced with so many unknown unknowns, the solution is to work from the known – Econ 101. Too much debt? Pay it down by saving more and foregoing consumption. Non-viable banks and corporates? Beyond limited cushions, let them fail and the assets they have used poorly be redistributed around their wiser brethren.
Yes, this will mean a nasty contraction but it clears away the debris and lets counter-cyclical forces get to work.
Trying to avoid the adjustment exacerbates the unknowns, paralyzing private investment and risk taking, and thus the chances of sustained recovery.

In response to debt forgiveness. That seems appropriate and a little scary at the same time. I am concerned with credit scores and the power of credit rating companies. Who gets the best shot at debt forgiveness? Is it only good scores or everyone? Or does money flow into squandering regardless of any metric?

My personal experience is that I have been fairly frugal in personal expense and attempted to develop technology to start a new business, to improve processes in e-commerce. (E-commerce is already a new thing causing some greater efficiency in business processes.) But I ran out of money this year. So, I have had some small bills destroying my credit score. I know some people who carry maybe 250 times the debt but have great credit scores. But, they can’t really take on more debt for development or cycle to new cards and buffering loans. There expenses have been on personal items. So, the bail out, should it get to lowly people who live in houses, will aid better scores even if profligate spending belongs to the better score while business development and personal thrift might not be aided.

Our world is clock oriented for debt. And, is dismissive of purpose. So, let’s let the builders go hungry and feed the vacationers.

Yet, in the time of the industrial revolution, who kept score? Could Edison have invented a light bulb after failing hundreds of times if he had been scored out of existence? And what about purchasing more liberally? If a car is soled to a credit risk and the car is repossessed, the car is on the market. Since we can assume that the car has a real value much lower than the retail price, it is more likely that the car value has been exchanged in order to get the car to the credit risk. But, scoring will prevent the car from moving at all.

So, how are we to proceed? This summer I went to seek SBA help to finish business development. But, loans go to cash flow, not to potential flow. (Valuation is a score, too.) I was told to stop creating a new business and get a job in order to get SBA help in order to create a new business. So, I guess I won’t be hiring any of the newly laid off people, thousands, in this area. So, should the SBA be given the bail out money? Or should any part of government get the money to handle? Should the local state government get the money since it will start writing IOU’s in a few weeks? (California) Should we cancel the state debt and pay administrators who don’t start new businesses?

Perhaps all debt should be forgiven. We might all just start with a clean slate. Perhaps banks and governments should start with a ground zero, cancel all debt today and open up shop to all comers tomorrow. And, so ignore preferences, which might be more incorrect than might be biased as determined by some score. Or perhaps, scoring should be forced to change dramatically, or purposed for purpose.

Now that all the banks got a bailout from the working tax paying citizens, which was not distributed in any way to benefits us, now it’s time to give us a large tax break, none of this useless $300 or 500 or 600 ish per married couples. That doesn’t amount to anything it just pays one bill, be it heat, gas for a vehicle, no bailing anyone out. It doesn’t even cover one mortg payment. Also, how was this bailout money, just handed over so wrecklessly, why because every crook in Washington had their hand in the cookie jar? The IRS should have put a team together to track it! Since tracking money is their expertise. It was a totally irresponsible bungle,without any stipulations. So the modern day bank robber wears a white collar & business suite but lacks sensibility and ethics and his name is corporate GREED. The bonus monies distributed should be repayed with interest 21% interest to the taxpayers!

Posted by Michele | Report as abusive

MY SEVEN STEPS TO SAVING AMERICA

Taking toxic waste (In this case loans that are never going to be paid) and moving that waste to another county (in this case the US Treasury), then shipping it back 5 years later to the county it came from miraculously making potable soil is irresponsible dreaming!

STEP 1 (STOP FEEDING THE LIES)
The first thing that the President can do is stop the phoney-baloney that the Treasury Secretary, Federal Reserve Chairman, and people of the ilk of Robert Rubin, and the Media Like the New York Times are serving up to the public. ALL OF IT to date is complete and utter hogwash. The public can smell a rotten egg and if Obama doesn\’t come to terms with that fact quickly, then he will not spend more than one short term in office.

STEP 2 (BECOME REALISTIC)
All of this nonsense about the Government taking the failed debts of the banks \”temporarily\” to be repaid later is an effort to hide the fact that the Plutocracy of America is more important than the rest of the American People and as they all run for cover the rest of us will be left holding nothing.

STEP 3 (STOP PRINTING MONEY)
As the Goverment continues to print new currency at an alarming rate (that I might add is no longer reported due to M3 no longer being published), we risk Weimarian inflation. We will be carrying 100 Billion US Dollar Notes in the next 5 years at the current rate of inflationary dollar creation.

STEP 4(REVITALIZE MODERN FED.RES.GOLD CERT. RATIO)
There is no solution to the current financial problem that we face, other than creating \”The Revitalized and Modernized Federal Reserve Gold Certificate Ratio\” as per Sinclair.

STEP 5 (HIRE RON PAUL AS SPECIAL ADVISER)
Obama should also make Ron Paul his Special Advisor to work with Volker.

STEP 6 TELL THE ENTIRE COUNTRY THE ABOVE AND EXPLAIN TO THEM WHY IT IS NECESSARY.

Let the Bankers and the Motor companies and any other company that has failed, to fail. Then you will have the trust of the people and other Nations.

STEP 7 (USE THE BIBLE AS YOUR GUIDE)

That’s my solution and it will work if Obama tries it.

Posted by McGregor | Report as abusive

as this seems like a plea for help from those who are genuinely trying to repair this worn out machine and avoid this growing disaster , while most are lounging around in cafe latte apathy like wannabee movie or rock stars , any conscious effort is a positive move.

as Queen Elizabeth said to a group of UK finance experts just after the tide turn … why didn’t you do something to avoid this ?

this dillusionary lifestyle fed by the US Steroid economy and its bulletproof mentality , with a generation lost in cyber action games and a glam movie world , has done its damage … the fall from grace may be a ugly one.

the will to power is an ageless human trait , but it has reached a pinicle of mass stupidity with no respect or responsibility of actions … even if you worship a God it’s all about cause and effect .

but any talk of America being great again is like hot air in the Hindenberg … Global co-operation and unity now !!!!

these people who go around expecting everyone to clean up after them are in for a shock when negative growth takes hold … this ego game of playing chicken with fate at others expense has come to an end … all the business in escapist lifestyle trash must be replaced with more efficient social machinery and energy supply …. over exploited privatization has left it close to ruin … roads , hospitals , schools , moral values .

to avoid an employment and consumer colapse , massive public works and re-education programs are needed .. and a remodeling of corperate ethics to benefit global trade holisticaly … fair and balanced equilibrium.

intelegent competition not bully boy thuggery .

there really is no escape from the cause and effect of this failed consumer ideology … but because the ways of selective memory loss and denial of the elitist wannabees it must bottom out first … then the human spirit may shine again.

Posted by Harry | Report as abusive

Until the money controllers figfure out a way to get money into the hands of the consumers- their fancy programs to fill the pockets of the FAT CATS- is DOOMED to complete–ABJECT FAILURE! It woiuld be far better gto prime the pump, by GIVING Money to MORTGAGE PAYERS- to pay off -not beach homes or the Mtn cabins- but the PROPERTY where they live;their 1st. home mortgages. Result- the Banks,lending institutions, savings and loans – etc- would have MONEY the next day- and LOAN to Car companies, production companies,house builders etc. The nation could go back to work.Givde each mortagee $500,000- -stipulation – they must pay off the mortgage in total- when paid – then the rest of the money up to $500,000 ISA theirs- spend, save – throw away anything
& that puts this naqtion back on the rad to recovery-IF IT IS NOT DONE some how- FOLKS -ITS OVER.The way it is going now- “I give it until the 3rd week in March and the nation and the world will know that this will NOT WORK!
Gene Moore

Posted by Gene Moore | Report as abusive

Banking must be the only industry where you can cause a global meltdown of your interests and others and still get a bonus. If my jobs were run this way all I would get if fired and sued.

Here is my question though…and personally I have completely lost ALL faith in all politicians and businesspeople, how many times are we going to have to bail out the big business?

The first time around I bailed out big business (the automobile industry) buy purchasing an American car. The second time around I bailed out big business by picking up the check through my tax bailout. If you are with me here, you can see that I have GOTTEN nothing in return except a declining assest, yet I am paying twice for the goods and services that these institutions proffer.

The third time around I will pay again (twice wasn’t enough) because while I bought American, and bailed out American business, nothing fundamental has been done to ‘fix’ the system. So here is what I am being asked for, as a taxpayer…a triple (possibly more) bailout of American big business.

All the while I am being told that ‘my confidence needs to be restored’ blah, blah, blah…I have so many angry choice words for you ‘business’ people and the ‘politicians’ that back you up.

If you want to ‘restore my confidence’ stop sucking off me like the worlds biggest leach, own up to your mistakes, just like I have to, quit feeling SO entitled that you take a bonus for the most spectacular failure of a financial system in the history of the world.

Quit asking me and subsequent generations to pay and pay and pay for your mistakes. Your pathetic rational that if ‘we don’t do something now’ the system will collapse doesn’t fly far with me, because your solution is to commit me and mine to a lifetime of slavery to your debts and errors.

Just because YOUR system might collapse doesn’t mean that it is worth it for us to commit ourselves and future generations to slavery to pay for your misdeeds.

Posted by Kiki | Report as abusive