The Alpine talkfest begins with a surging China, a rising India, emboldened bankers, and very worried Europeans
DAVOS, Switzerland -- A year ago, when the annual conclave of the world's political, financial and business elite known as the World Economic Forum met in this Alpine ski resort, the mood was as gloomy and overcast as the weather.
Bankers were literally ducking for cover, fears of a double-dip recession were rampant, and distrust of China was palpable. Europeans brushed off the mounting Greek tragedy as a one-off debt crisis that couldn't possibly affect anyone else across the eurozone.
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On Tuesday, the five-day forum begins with 2,500 participants -- including 1,400 top business leaders and 35 heads of state -- tackling (or at least talking about!) the world's problems. The weather and the overall climate of the meetings should be a bit sunnier for all involved. Except for Europe.
That, at least, is the forecast of seasoned Davos-watchers, who have begun trudging up the mountain again for a gathering that has taken as its theme this year the notion of "shared norms for a new reality." Or, as Klaus Schwab, the redoubtable founder and executive chairman, said of the 41st meeting: "The shifts of political and economic power from west to east and from north to south, as well as the speed of technological innovation, have created a completely new reality."