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    Davos Elites See an ‘Abyss’: The Populist Surge Upending the Status Quo

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    mudra

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    Davos Elites See an ‘Abyss’: The Populist Surge Upending the Status Quo

    Post  mudra on Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:35 am

    Davos Elites See an ‘Abyss’: The Populist Surge Upending the Status Quo

    By ALEXANDRA STEVENSONJAN. 19, 2017

    DAVOS, Switzerland — For the investors and market-movers at the annual World Economic Forum here, a threat lurks.

    At cocktail parties where the Champagne flows, financiers have expressed bewilderment over the rise of populist groups that are feeding a backlash against globalization. In the halls of the Davos Congress Center, where many of the meetings this week are taking place, investors have tried to make sense of the political upheaval.

    The world order has been upended. As the United States retreats from the promise of free trade, China is taking up the mantle. The stark shift leaves investors trying to assess the new risk and opportunities in the global economy.

    “This is the first time there is absolutely no consensus,” said William F. Browder, a co-founder of Hermitage Capital Management who has been coming to Davos for 21 years. “Everyone is looking into the abyss.”

    The religion of the global elite — free trade and open markets — is under attack, and there has been a lot of hand-wringing over what Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund has declared a “middle-class crisis.”

    But while all attendees in Davos have a view on the state of the world, there is little agreement on how to deal with it.

    The biggest concern? Finding a way to make the people who are driving populist movements feel like they are part of the global economic pie that Davos participants have created and largely own.
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    In a Twitter post from the Swiss resort, Ian Bremmer, the president of Eurasia Group, a political-research firm, offered his advice: “Elites won’t be able to manage populism until they stop seeing it as a threat and start seeing it as a symptom.”

    If that is the case, Davos has, so far, made little progress.

    “I want to be loud and clear: Populism scares me,” Ray Dalio, the billionaire hedge fund manager, said during a panel on how to fix the middle-class crisis. “The No. 1 issue economically as a market participant is how populism manifests itself over the next year or two.” But Mr. Dalio offered little by way of a solution, beyond opining on the positive aspects of loosening regulation and lowering taxes.

    read on: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/business/dealbook/world-economic-forum-davos-finance.html?_r=2#story-continues-2

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