from Davos Notebook:

Of confidence and coconut trees

January 31, 2009

"Confidence grows at the rate that a coconut tree grows, but confidence falls at the rate that the coconut falls," Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of India's Planning Commission, told a panel in Davos.

Save capitalism from the banks – Nassim Taleb

January 30, 2009

Black Swan

Nassim Nicholas Taleb,  the author of  “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable”, has a simple proposal to as he puts it, “save capitalism and free markets from the banks.”

from Davos Notebook:

Overheard in Davos

January 30, 2009

One of the best things about Davos is the conversations you overhear. It's like no place else.

from Davos Notebook:

Hank Paulson is not Gavrilo Princip, Lehman is not the Archduke Franz Ferdinand

January 29, 2009

Was letting Lehman go down the biggest mistake of the crisis? Many, including George Soros in the Financial Times, have argued that letting Lehman go down sowed panic to markets, consumers and businesses.

from Davos Notebook:

U.S. – They’re skint, they’re frugal, get used to it

January 29, 2009

Good session on the "Frugal American," an as yet undiscovered species that is coming to a global economy near you.

from Davos Notebook:

It’s never too late to blame Greenspan

January 29, 2009

Alan Greenspan hasn't been chairman of the Fed for three years, but his policy mistakes keep paying dividends in the form of blame at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos.

Whose job is it to stimulate Europe?

January 28, 2009

So do countries which can borrow money more cheaply, Germany for example, have a higher obligation to borrow, spend and make things better for everyone across Europe?

Shocker – Davosians vote against more regulation

January 28, 2009

Duncan Niederauer, chief exec of NYSE Euronext, told a panel here at Davos that rather than inventing a whole host of new regulations, we’d be better off focusing on existing means of bringing order to markets, specifically taking a page from the exchanges books by having central clearing and more price transparancy for derivatives and off-exchange structured products. I think he’s actually got a great point about clearing and better price information, but I can’t see this as being anywhere near bringing regulation up to scratch.

Stephen Schwarzman’s hair of the dog

January 28, 2009

jimsaftcolumnSo what is Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwarzman’s prescription for solving the banking crisis?

Stephen Roach – protectionism a threat

January 28, 2009

Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley, who pretty much called it at last year’s Davos, when consensus was for no recession in the “real” economy and decoupling of emerging markets, is gloomy again. Speaking with him this morning after he did an interview with Reuters on Davos Today, Roach said that there was a real threat of protectionism as politicians come under pressure from rising unemployment. The U.S. and China relationship will be key, he said.