January 23, 2007

Tectonic shift

Nathan Gardels blogs over at The Huffington Post about this year's World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. He describes the WEF as a mirror of economic reality and starts off with this declaration:

This year's theme at the World Economic Forum annual meeting -- "the shifting power equation"-- confirms the view of the global elite gathering in Davos, Switzerland that power is draining away from the United States to multiple centers as countries from Brazil to China moved beyond "emerging" markets to establish themselves as major players on the world scene.

The conference theme also acknowledges the panic in traditional business circles as power shifts from the producer to the consumer thanks to the Internet and the digital distribution revolution.

Far from some kind of conspiracy of the global elite plotting the future as they whisk down the Alpine slopes, Davos is in fact a back-end barometer of their evolving worldview. It does not break new ground, but consolidates opinion. It does not generate new trends, but codifies them into conventional wisdom. That is its power and its importance.
Gardels then takes us on a tour of the last twenty years at Davos, pointing to the economic and political shifts on display there. Finally, Gardels concludes:
But globalization, as this year's Davos agenda suggests, is no longer an American-led phenomenon. Globalization now belongs to everyone who can figure out how to take advantage of its opportunities and minimize its dislocations. American-bred technology may be its midwife, but Americans are no longer solely the parents.

That's a big powershift indeed. And when the global elites leave Davos next week, it will be the new conventional wisdom.
I recommend the entire piece, and be sure to check out the comments.

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