DAVOS, Switzerland — They came, they feasted on smoked sturgeon and black truffle risotto, drank liquor paid for by global banks, endured dozens of security checks, and tried not to fall down in the snow. They talked about the perilous state of the global economy and the future of capitalism. Then, they headed back to their home countries — many in chauffeured limousines, some by private jet.
But as the people who run much of the planet wrapped up the annual festival of influence known as the World Economic Forum on Saturday, any sense of achievement was hard to discern. The participants arrived amid elevated unemployment in many economies, worries about government budget deficits, and fears that contagion from a financial crisis in Europe could infect the rest of the world. They went home with all of these worries intact, and perhaps reinforced.
Nouriel Roubini, the economist who — not for nothing — is known as “Doctor Doom,” noted that world leaders are divided on a great array of crucial issues, from arguments over trade imbalances and currency valuations to the threats posed by Iran and North Korea and the challenge of climate change.
“On all these issues that require international coordination, there is no agreement,” he said during a Saturday morning panel. “It’s a world of chaos that can lead to potential conflicts.”
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