As Davos Winds Down, Greek Pessimism Reigns

By Massoud Hayoun

Food prices, China's currency, the future of the Arab revolutions, and the end of Greece -- all in a day's work in Switzerland

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Reuters

Post-Spring Leaders Ask Davos to Overcome Islamophobia

Post-Spring North African party chiefs asked Davos attendants to work with newly elected Islamist governments to promote the expansion of their economies, according to Reuters.

"I do not believe the new regimes should be called political Islamist regimes," said Tunisian Prime Minister Hammadi Jebali, of his party Ennahda - an Islamist party that has pledged, on several occasions, that there will be no Shariah-compliant overhaul of Tunisia's financial structures.

Together with party officials from Morocco, Jebali asked for continued investment to create jobs, improve the quality of living and stave off another mass-outcry for government accountability.

Three Moroccans self-immolated at an unemployment protest in Rabat, the capital of the North African kingdom, Tuesday, in an attempt to emulate Mohamed Bouazizi's act of martyrdom, which our International Channel covered on the anniversary of the Egyptian revolution.   

Lagarde's Greek Expectations

IMF Chief Christine Lagarde wants Greece to show her its moneymaker - and fast. She also said she expects to see the country's GDP shoot up to 120 percent of its current GDP by 2020, according to Dow Jones.

According to the Hellenic Statistical Authority, Greece's quarter-on-quarter GDP growth for Q3 of 2011 was down five percent from the previous year.   

But eight years is enough time for Greece to reverse economic misfortunes that have successfully rocked the continent, right?

Lagarde told Bloomberg TV she's "not optimistic or positive about recent progress toward a funding package or an economic program."

Geithner Harps on the Yuan

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner went back to one of his most notable bugaboos when he said China continues to undervalue its currency and interrupt international trade dynamics.

Geithner told AFP that Beijing is still "systematically subsidizing" costs of key exports and maintaining "its exchange rate below fundamentals" to maintain an unfair competitive advantage in international trade.

Still, as China Daily is often quick to point out, after Tokyo finally addressed U.S. demands that it stop devaluing the Yen in the 70s and 80s, Japanese export figures plummeted and thrust the economy into a recession.

With the state of the global economy and Sino-American interdependence, some economic analysts may argue that another currency battle isn't - at least for now --  in America's best interest.

The 99 Percent Is Hungry

The rich and powerful are concerned that an increasingly hungry world population may lead to riots, according to this video from Reuters:  


A rising cost of living is often linked to instability. Last year, a drought in central China's wheat-producing province may have helped fuel some social upheaval in the country's big cities. And some analysts say a wheat shortage and the rising cost of bread may have helped drive Egyptians to Tahrir Square last year.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/01/as-davos-winds-down-greek-pessimism-reigns/252141/