What is Key to Davos

26 January 2005

So what do the people at my table think are the key issues of the day...

Governance because it drives outcomes...ethical globalisation because it is what we need...security because without it nothing works...middle east because it is the key to prosperity...poverty, poverty and poverty...then the FT journalists and the managing editor...poverty, because if we do not deal with that, globalisation will be undermined, and because we have the capacity to deal with it...middle east, because freedom and prosperity are missing, and conflict there can undo gains elsewhere...and mine...no prizes...but people go into somewhat of a glaze around the table as i try to explain why the language of governance shrouds the underlying issues, as do words like freedom and democracy...never mind...terrible confusion of outcomes that one is trying to change, and the drivers of change...you cannot compare the issues of governance and poverty, apples and pears, people around the table see this of course..."climate change does not have the same sense of urgency...not really a problem of today."

Snippets: Does the middle east problem tie into equitable globalisation...not really, or...of course it does since muslims are all over the world, and of course the oil...the argument that poverty causes terrorism does not stack up, which comes from stiffled political development, particularly in Palestine, its not a poverty problem...but globalisation is a matter of culture, not just economics...but the fact of occupation in Iraq and elsewhere is more penetrating than DVD and hamburgers...the assumption of intractability of problems leads to depair and social decay...solving problems in the Middle East do not solve the problems of Africa...the issue of terror is drawing resources away from real problems, the core...the closest we have on offer is US leadership...if US republicans were making up this list, it would have looked different...you say education is important, but for that you have to pay teachers well....what about our leaders, they are not what we need...FT: but US leadership is crucial to our needs, they are sitting out of the game...Bush is there to serve the interests of the US people, at best...we have to advance multilateralism as a basis for international governance to deliver desired goals...

I guess the point is that when people sit around the table, here or almost anywhere, the main problems are seen surprisingly similarly...does this mean that those with 'true power' are absent from the conversation, even here at Davos, or that they know something we do not, or are we so cynical and believe that they simply serve different interests to those raised in the debate...

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Emily Bell Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism and director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School

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Josh Rudolph Fellow for Malign Finance at the Alliance for Securing Democracy

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