Davos 2013: What’s in it for me?
As the world’s business leaders and political elite unpack their bags on their return home from Davos, resolving to keep on trying to boost the global economy, what can businesses at home expect to gain from the hot air generated in the conference rooms?
Although there is more optimism around than just a year ago, businesses in the financial sector should not expect an easy ride ahead. The incoming governor of the Bank of England – Mark Carney – said the next two years will be decisive for bank reform. His priorities will be tackling shadow banking and “too big to fail” issues. While bankers at Goldman Sachs said that low interest rates and stricter rules are driving European companies to cut links to banks and raise funds in the bond markets instead.
What else was discussed at the world’s biggest talking shop?
- Ethics: Businesses will need to do more to show what good they do. Transparency and tightening up the rules on tax for global companies will be one of the aims of Britain’s G8 presidency, according to PM David Cameron
- Manufacturing: Transforming manufacturing in countries like the US and UK through high tech innovations could be key to business growth. London Mayor Boris Johnson asked “Why should we not partially re-industrialise our economy?”
- Technology: Managing the data from our myriad of electronic devices is becoming a global issue. And firms like Facebook and Twitter may need to share their advertising revenue with their members to persuade them to keep sharing details
- Gender: Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, launched a strong attack on the gender stereotypes that hold back women at work
- Zombie businesses: Thousands of financially shaky businesses are being propped up. Cheap borrowing stops uneconomic firms from going under, but they can’t expand or invest because they’re still hampered by the debts of the boom years
So what can we do about it?
Klaus Schwab, the German economist who founded the forum in 1971, believes that future global economic growth amidst this prolonged malaise will require “resilient dynamism – bold vision and even bolder action. Either attribute – resilience or dynamism – alone is insufficient.”
Could this be the time for interim leaders – with their intense energy and focus on results – to come to the fore?
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