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DaWoes Blues

What’s really at stake as the world’s business elite meets in Davos?

February 1, 2000

What's really at stake as the world's business elite meets in Davos?

What’s Really at Stake as the World’s Business Elite Meets in Davos?

Why is poverty dangerous?

“A hungry neighbor is a dangerous neighbor — and a third of the world is very hungry.”

(Tanzanian finance minister Daniel Yona, September 1999)

Why are poor countries politically instable?

“It’s easy to talk of perfect democracy when your per capita income is $20,000. Try doing it on $300.”

(India’s chief election officer, Manohar Singh Gill, August 1999)

Who should make globalization his business?

“Understanding the global economy is everybody’s business.”

(General Electric ad slogan, August 1999)

What is a major complaint in the developing world about globalization?

“In the emerging world, there is a sense that there must be something wrong with a system that wipes out years of hard-won development because of changes in market sentiment.”

(Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, February 1999)

What makes the United States so powerful?

“Whether we want it or not, hardly any major decision or policy can be executed in the world — be it in Moscow or Bang-kok, Budapest or Djakarta — without international backing, primarily from Washington, D.C., the location of the World Bank, the IMF, the U.S. Treasury, Congress, and other influential organizations and think tanks.”

(Grzegorz W. Kolodko, former finance minister of Poland, June 1998)

What does history tell people who ignore political and social integration?

“The lesson from 1914 is that economic integration alone is not enough.”

(Zurich Group economist David Hale, July 1998)

What is one of the biggest misconceptions about globalization?

“Globalism has become the ‘ism’ to hate. But it is not an ideology — it is a process.”

(WTO Director General Mike Moore)

Why do some believe globalization jeopardizes stability?

“While globalization integrates markets, it fragments politics.”

(Wolfgang Reinicke, World Bank economist, November 1997)

Is globalization real?

“Globalization is above all a justificatory myth.”

(French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, August 1999)

How should states deal with globalization?

“Globalization does not make a state powerless. The market economy doesn’t find harmony of its own accord. To function efficiently, it needs rules.”

(French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, October 1999)

What is the role of global markets?

“One does not expect them to behave as saints, but it is their duty to create values beyond competition and success.”

(French political writer Dominique Moisi, September 1999)

Do politicians need to find answers to globalization?

“We must take care that globalization does not become something people become afraid of.”

(German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, November 1999)

Mr. Camdessus, what changes do you foresee in dealing with economic issues?

“People are laughing at me, saying Camdessus only has one idea — transparency. But I believe that in the coming world, transparency will be the most cardinal virtue.”

(IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, May 1999)

In what sense will all benefit from globalization?

“Globalization is empowering people with information — everywhere.”

(U.S. President Bill Clinton, January 2000)

Does globalization go hand in hand with Americanization?

“Globalization is not an American policy. It is a process driven by the collapse of communism and by the explosion of ideas and capital transmitted worldwide at the speed of light.”

(Felix Rohatyn, U.S. ambassador to France, October 1999)

What makes globalization frightening even to economists at times?

“You get a sense that this is all now truly left to Adam Smith’s invisible hand. It is beyond any country’s — or institution’s — ability to control.”

(Yale business school dean Jeffrey Garten, September 1998)

Where did anti-globalization movements cause significant improvements?

“The sheer political gains of the anti-globalization side in the last few years have made the free trade side realize that they have to do something to deal with the losers from free trade and the dislocations generated by globalization.”

(C. Fred Bergsten, director, Institute for International Economics, January 1999)

What concerns some U.S. politicians about global integration?

“The American people see the U.N. aspiring to establish itself as the central authority of a new international order of global laws and global governance. This is an international order the American people will not countenance.”

(U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, January 2000)

Have there been early complaints about “globalization”?

“All old-established national industries are dislodged by new industries whose products are consumed not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, we find new wants requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes.”

(Marx and Engels, in the “Communist Manifesto” 1848)

What is a main challenge for the future?

“There is an inherent discrepancy in globalization. On the one side, you have decision makers — maybe one million people around the world. On the other side, there are the remaining 5.99 billion people who are experiencing globalization in their daily lives. We must win these people over for globalization.”

(Professor Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, January 1999)