Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Recession sets the tone in Davos

Sarah Gardner Jan 28, 2009
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Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Recession sets the tone in Davos

Sarah Gardner Jan 28, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Events got underway today in Switzerland for the big World Economic Forum in Davos. Political and business elites are there, as are more than three dozen heads of state. But missing in action are rock stars and supermodels who, in the past, glitzed things up over there in the Swiss countryside. And you can blame the deep recession on the muted tone there. Here’s Sarah Gardner.


Sarah Gardner: More than 2,500 are expected at the World Economic Forum’s yearly gabfest. But the headliners won’t be the kings of capitalism. They’ve been chastened. This year, the big names are political leaders like Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Britain’s Gordon Brown. The theme? “Shaping the Post-Crisis World.”

Former Reagan official and economist Clyde Prestowitz says ironically, it’s a crisis that many Davos types helped create.

Clyde Prestowitz: I was at a meeting about a year ago in which people from Lehman Brothers, for example, said that they had stress-tested their investments and their systems with every kind of shock and that they were shock-proof. And you know, then a year later, they’re gone.

Many Wall Street execs have either nixed plans to attend Davos or cut out the lavish parties they traditionally sponsor there. PR guru Howard Rubenstein told Reuters banks should avoid, quote, “thumbing their noses at taxpayers during a time of austerity.”

I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

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