World Economic Forum 2010

Today finishes in Davos, Switzerland, the first post-crisis World Economic Forum (WEF), which has gathered in the Swiss ski resort an important number of politicians, journalists, business leaders, academics and other social actors.

The purpose of the WEF is to create a pleasant environment for world leaders to discuss global problems and reach conclusions which can eventually be applied in different fields such as business, politics, NGOs activities… in order to create a better world.

The range of issues discussed during the past few days in Davos has been very broad, and the number of panellists participating in the debates quite high, so several ideas and different points of view have been brought to the table of public debate. For those of you interested in watching to the organized debates that took place, you can access them following this link.

2009 World Economic Forum took place in the middle of the crisis, when people still were quite shocked for what was going on, and some important actors such as bankers didn’t appear in Switzerland that time. Apparently, this year the mood has been more optimistic but the aftermath of the crisis have been broadly discussed, and it is clear that a lot of action has still to be taken in order to recover prosperity, wealth and well-being around the world.

From my point of view, one of the most interesting  debates took place under the name of “Rethinking market capitalism” and the most insightful panellist was Mr. Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Altatel-Lucent.

According to Mr. Verwaayen standpoint, a key element when it comes to rethink capitalism and make it more social and less prone to create excesses, would be what is considered success. Because in our search for success, whatever it is for each of us, we’ll act in one way or another in our lifes, in our jobs… and these acts may generate a broad range of outcomes depending on the intention of who is doing them. Is success being as rich as possible? Is success being happy? Is success being admired and respected for the society? Is success having the freedom and time to do whatever you want with your family and friends?

Shortermism in business has been one of the key factors that have driven us into the actual crisis. Generally, people are greedy and respond to incentives, so if the latter are not fully studied, its consequences can be devastating. But as Mr Verwaayen said during his intervention, “quarterly reports are here to stay, but leaders should understand their obligations must go further than that. They must create a system where shorthermism and longtermism are balanced.”

Real business leaders must go the extra mile, and in addition to create value for shareholders they must bear in mind the other stakeholders interests when running their companies. Hopefully this broad business vision will help to restore people’s trust on business leaders and trade and economy will flow again.

Precisely, the issue of trust and confidence on business leaders and politicians was discussed in other interesting debate in Davos. For many  panellists, we’re in the middle of a crisis that has been created by greedy business people and ineffective regulators, and workers feel deceived by them.

It’s quite important, if we want to overcome the present gloomy mood that some fresh air comes in, and some new ideas must be brought on the table that are attractive to people. We must feel that the system we’re in is fair with everybody, that bad behaviour is penalized and real value creators are recognized.

Coming back to our country from Switzerland, I feel that we are quite well represented in the business field – obviously a lot can be done, we’ve a lot of unemployment, we need more innovation and a strong industry and so on- but our politicians no are good enough to help society to overcome this crisis.

How can we trust, here in Spain, our politicians when it’s clear they´re quite useless and no prepared at all to tackle the important challenges we’re facing these days? For example, Spain’s president, Mr. Zapatero can’t understand nor speak English, so how this man can represent properly our country in international forums where most important problems are analized and solutions to them proposed.

The problem is that other politicians are nowadays as bad as Zapatero, their lack of charisma is enormous, their international image is ridiculous and their preparation to deal with global problems is almost zero. I believe we need better political leaders, with fresh ideas, passionate, internationally prepared and well connected, if we’re to overcome this crisis in the next few years; otherwise people will never be upbeat about the situation and with the actual mood it is quite difficult to overcome current problems.

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