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Davos live: Growth predictions set the scene for a gloomy summit | Liveblog

World leaders, economists and thinkers gather in Davos for the first full day of the World Economic Forum meeting

9.52am: Larry Elliott’s sent us his initial thoughts. The full story’s here, and below are some excerpts. The theme that seems to be emerging is one of profound self-scrutiny by the global elite, but doubt that any serious change will be implemented.

Four years into a brutal recession that has left 200m unemployed around the world, and with protest movements occupying public spaces in western cities, there is clearly some soul searching going on. Today’s programme in Davos kicked off with a debate on whether 20th-century capitalism is failing 21st-century society. A report on the risks facing the world in 2012, to be debated later today, is titled The Seeds of Dystopia. It notes that many of the indicators of economic and societal health are going in the wrong direction.

So, the good news in Davos is that the right questions are starting to be asked. The extent of the unease about today’s toxic mix of unemployment and inequality was demonstrated in a straw poll of those attending the debate on capitalism showed that 40% thought it was failing 21st-century society and 20% thought it wasn’t.

The bad news is that the appetite for reform is not really there.

9.35am: And we’ve just had UK GDP figures in for Q4 (the last three months) of 2011: -0.2%. Jill Treanor, in Davos, tweeted the following reaction:

It’s very unwelcome news for British politicians at the summit, including the Chancellor, George Osborne.

9.32am: A quick write-up from AP of that TIME debate on capitalism. Apparently David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, said:

Capitalism may be the worst form of systems, except for every other system.

His co-panellist, Sharan Burrow said “we’ve lost a moral compass” and warned of social unrest.

9.18am: My colleague Jane Martinson, the Guardian’s women’s editor, sends a blogpost from the summit. Despite efforts to increase diversity, it seems “Davos man” still dominates.

To register for this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, delegates fill in a profile page pre-set with the silhouette of a shadowy man. A year after imposing a quota on the biggest companies to encourage more women to attend, the image still fits the gender profile of more than 80% of delegates.

Despite the quota, just 17% of the gathering of world business, political and campaign are women. This percentage is the highest yet in the 40 odd years of the event, up from 16% in 2011 and just 9% in 2002, but it still gives a handy guide to the headway women have made in penetrating the top of the business, political and media elite.

9.06am: The TIME magazine debate is underway in Davos (live feed above). Its title: Is Capitalism Failing? once again chimes with the mood among global policymakers – shaken and casting about for solutions. Below is a live feed of the debate, which is chaired by TIME international editor Jim Frederick. Panellists include Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation in Brussels and Brian T Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America.

8.43am: News yesterday that the IMF was revising its growth figures drastically downwards have cast a pall over Davos, as Larry Elliott explains. It will focus minds at the summit, which is the fifth since the global crisis began. The health of European economies will be a major preoccupation. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Fidler says:

The travails of the euro zone seem likely to dominate discussions among the politicians, bankers and senior company executives.

Some will have questions of great moment, seeking to ascertain, for example, whether German Chancellor Angela Merkel is softening her opposition to further strengthening of the euro-zone’s bailout fund. Some will seek enlightenment on narrower matters, such as whether they can expect struggling euro-zone governments to delay payments for goods and services their companies provide.

On a more positive note, he adds “The general gloom about Europe should be tempered by the more positive mood in emerging economies – even if growth has slowed slightly from recent years.”

8.41am: Welcome to the Guardian’s liveblog from the first day of the World Economic Forum summit in the Swiss resort of Davos. The centrepiece of today’s schedule is Angela Merkel’s opening speech, scheduled for 16:30 UK time. Beyond that there will be meetings and sessions throughout the day – that curious mix of the official and the fringe for which Davos is famous.

We’ll be taking in the highlights, with help from Guardian writers and editors at the event: Alan Rusbridger, Larry Elliott, Jill Treanor and Jane Martinson.

Orientation first: Larry’s Davos A-Z on the summit goes all the way from anti-globalisation to Zoellick. And there’s our Davos keyword page for all the latest news articles.

Jane, Jill and Larry also gathered together the thoughts of delegates including Cherie Blair, Bill Gates and Pascal Lamy on the eve of the summit. Read them here.

And if you’re interested in the ongoing Eurozone crisis, my colleague Graeme Wearden is anchoring a liveblog with all the latest developments here.

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