More world leaders converge in Davos
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Scott Jagow: The World Economic Forum got underway in Davos, Switzerland today. It’s usually a glamorous and happy affair, attracting the top CEOs, heads of state, even rock stars. But this year, there’s no Bono, no Angelina Jolie, probably not even much skiiing. There’s too much to do.
On the line with us is Businessweek editor Diane Brady. She’s in Davos. Diane, dare I ask what the mood is there?
Diane Brady: I think the general mood is a real sense of confusion. There’s a sense that there’s going to be unprecedented government intervention in the next year, and so there’s more CEOs and chairpersons than ever in the history of Davos. There’s also more world leaders here, so I think you’re dealing with people whose industries have collapsed in a way that they’ve never seen, and they’re trying to figure out what will get the world out of this, nevermind their own companies.
Jagow: Well, a record number of world leaders there, but one glaring omission, and that is that President Obama and his people aren’t there. What’s the response to that?
Brady: In fact, it was commented on last night. In many ways, the timing of the Obama administration coming in has not been ideal. Valerie Jarrett, who’s one of his senior advisors, is coming on Thursday. But in a year when the Chinese premiere, the German chancellor, even Vladimir Putin is here, the fact that you really don’t have much of a presence from Washington is disappointing I think to a lot of people.
Jagow: Do you think that governments really will work together to help solve this financial crisis, or will they be a lot of talk and then a lot of protectionism?
Brady: You know, overall I think there’s an understanding that there has to be a coordinated effort. You certainly heard it articulated by Barack Obama the sense that you saw just how much the world has moved in sync in terms of the banking crisis, the currency crisis. And they really do have to work together to really coordinate policy so that we can make sure that the dollar remains, you know, strong enough that it has some value, but also that we can be working with China, for example, to see when are they going to get their economy back in shape, because that’s so critical to the world market.
Jagow: Diane Brady, senior editor at Businessweek, in Davos, Switzerland. Thanks so much.
Brady: You’re welcome.
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