David Ignatius: Humbled Masters At Davos

Columnist David Ignatius writes in the Washington Post about the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he noticed rare humility and self-reflection among the powerful assembled there:

The most upbeat presentations here were from the capitalist “newbies,” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Wen said that he saw small signs of “hope” in China’s increased bank lending and domestic consumption. Putin talked like a born-again capitalist, saying that Russia had seen the damage caused by too much government control of the economy and that it would never go back to the policies of the Soviet Union. He sounded most enthusiastic when he talked about tax cuts in Russia.

[...] Wen and Putin appeared entirely at home in the Davos CEO club. The Chinese leader, dressed in a dark blue suit, even seemed to have mastered the modern chief executive’s vocabulary of warm insincerity, sprinkling his remarks with phrases such as “I just want to tell you frankly” and “from the bottom of my heart.” He talked several times of China’s “openness and transparency,” qualities not often ascribed to the People’s Republic.

January 31, 2009 11:18 PM
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