Monday, February 2, 2009

Davos 2009: Quotable quotes

Montek Singh AHLUWALIA (Indian economist): Confidence grows as slowly as a coconut tree, and falls as fast as a coconut.

Kofi ANNAN (Former UN Secretary-General): The status quo cannot work.

Kofi ANNAN (Former UN Secretary-General): We need to ensure the poorest in the planet - who will be hardest hit by the financial crisis - are not forgotten.

Tony BLAIR (Former British Prime Minister): The free enterprise system has not failed; the financial system has failed.

Richard BRANSON (Founder of The Virgin Group):  In times of recession there are massive opportunities and fortunes to be made, so for new up and coming entrepreneurs, this is the time to go and start a business.

Gordon BROWN (British Prime Minister): The policy of doing nothing will allow this crisis to start a retreat from globalisation with huge implications for prosperity in every part of the world in the years to come.

David CAMERON (British Conservative Party Leader): It's time to place the market within a moral framework - even if that means standing up to companies who make life harder for parents and families.

David CAMERON (British Conservative Party Leader): The best chapters in our economic history are those that embrace the many, not the few.

Richard EDELMAN (CEO of Edelman): Business really has to work its way back. It has to re-earn the trust of its broad sets of constituents.

Richard EDELMAN (CEO of Edelman): I think we have moved from a shareholder society to a stakeholder society, and that has massive implications.

Bill GATES (Founder of Microsoft): Philanthropy is fun and fulfilling.

Bill GATES (Founder of Microsoft): The poor can't wait. Philanthropists needed to carry on being generous.

Rick GOINGS (CEO of Tupperware Brands Corp): The last thing to cut is your talent.

Stephen GREEN (chairman of HSBC): There are no magic wands and even crystal balls are in short supply.

Stephen GREEN (chairman of HSBC): Banks have clearly done things wrong. Some of the practices did not contribute, by any reasonable standards, to human welfare

Al GORE (Former US Vice-President) on finding a successor to the Kyoto Protocol at a Copenhagen climate summit in December: The new administration is very serious about this. We need an agreement this year, not next year or some other time.

Alex HEIDEGER (Member of the Davos Green Party): It's the same people who came last year and said the world economic situation is fine, and now we're in a financial crisis. Now it's the taxpayer who has to solve the whole problem.

Wen JIABAO (Chinese Premier) on the causes of the financial crisis: Inappropriate macro economic policies in some economies, characterised by [a] low savings rate and high consumption [and] failure of financial supervision and regulation to keep up with innovation which allowed financial derivatives to spread.

Vaclav KLAUS (Czech President whose country holds the EU Presidency): I don't think there is any global warming. I don't see the statistical data for that.

Christine LAGARDE (French Finance Minister): Social unrest and protectionism are the two major risks of the world economic crisis.

Doris LEUTHARD (Swiss Economy Minister): The opening up of markets is the best [thing] we can do to fight the crisis.

Hans-Rudolf MERZ (Swiss President): The notion of more of the same, must be replaced with more of something better.

Rupert MURDOCH (Chairman of News Corporation): Don't let's lose sight of what creates wealth. It is open markets, it is capitalism.

Raila ODINGA (Kenyan Prime Minister) on Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe: When over 3,000 people have already died of cholera, I think it is a tragedy that Africa cannot speak with one voice against this one regime.

Alessandro PROFUMO: (CEO of Unicredit): There is a real willingness to understand where we made mistakes and what we have to change in the future in order to improve our reputation on the one side, and the credibility of the whole industry on the other.

Kenneth ROGOFF (Harvard professor and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund): Worrying about inflation now is like worrying about the measles when you might get the plague.

Nouriel ROUBINI (Economist who predicted the credit crunch): Capitalism is the worst system except for all those others that have been tried. (variation on a Churchill quote)

Desmond TUTU (South African Archbishop): We worshipped in the temple of cutthroat competition, and so some cooked the books, because the treasure is so great.

Desmond TUTU (South African Archbishop): We spend billions on banks when we know that a fraction of this money could save all the children in the world.