A sign for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
A sign for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland - 
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Doug Krizner: The World Economic Forum is underway in Davos, Switzerland. Top business leaders are calling for more action to head off a serious economic downturn, as Stephen Beard reports.

Stephen Beard: Last year, they celebrated the glories of global capitalism. This year, the mood is more muted. Among the 2,500 business people, politicians and officials in Davos, the talk is mostly about market turmoil.

Some called for stronger political leadership, among them hedge-fund boss George Soros. He surprised many when he told the BBC that what had caused the current crisis was a lack of regulation by the authorities:

George Soros: They ought to have known better, because they have in the past come to the rescue. So they ought to know that the markets don't necessarily right themselves.

Some of the Davos attendees praised the Fed for slashing interest rates yesterday. Others called it a panic measure.

Most eloquent, perhaps, was the absence of key policymakers. Both the U.S. finance chief, Henry Paulson and his U.K. counterpart, Alistair Darling pulled out of the event at short notice.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.