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Does WEF need a crisis?

Siesta Keystone

The previous two years at WEF have witnessed a veritable buzz in the corridors of the congress centre in Davos.

The Arab Spring uprisings that were nearing the conclusion of their most dramatic phase in early 2011 created an atmosphere of both tension and hope. The breathless arrival in Davos of the newly created Tunisian cabinet was a truly dramatic moment.

Roll forward 12 months and Greece was about to drop off the edge of the euro map under a mountain of debt. The debates and whispers among delegates was lively and pointed.

Davos has lost its zip this year and is treading water, waiting for something to happen. Most of keynote speeches have contained the same message: “Things have improved a bit, but not enough. We’re not facing disaster, but we’re not exactly going places either.”

While I wouldn’t wish a crisis on anyone, I can’t help thinking that some moments of drama would shake WEF out of its lethargy, force people into describing solutions rather than problems and make delegates look beyond the walls of their comfortable immediate surroundings.

Uncomfortable drama is taking place in the world right now: in Syria, in Mali, in Europe. But the sticking plaster effect of central bank spending has given just enough breathing space for hard pressed economies and companies to look only to their own issues.

Maybe delegates should take heed of the warning signs on the electric golf buggies that ferry them from registration to the congress hall.

“Windscreens do not provide protection from golf balls or other flying objects.”

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR