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Davos 2012: All the action from day three of the World Economic Forum

World leaders continue to debate capitalism, the eurozone, and Iran at a snowy Davos

9.56am: Even the grandsons of billionaires can struggle to get a comfy double bed at Davos.

Howard W. Buffett (grandson of Warren), is attending his first World Economic Forum along with new wife Lili (those Buffetts know how to show a girl a good time). However, the 28-year-old director of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation didn’t realise how much demand there would be for hotel rooms, so he and Mrs B are snuggled up in bunk beds

As he joked to Forbes:

At least we’re newlyweds.

Quite.

Thought: if there’s bunk beds on offer in Davos, maybe we should have bagged one for Larry and Jill….

9.50am: Davos is now considering “The Future of the Eurozone” (well, I guess it would be risky to delay this session until next year)

Olli Rehn, the EU’s top economic official, is telling the audience that world leaders must give more resources to the International Monetary Fund:

We need support from our British and American friends. We need to increase the resources of the IMF.

We’ll have more details asap.

9.33am: Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the financial crisis, has been discussing the impact that social media could have on the economic world.

Dr Roubini reckoned that Twitter, and its equivalents, play a key role addressing inequality and economic unfairness.

Bill Gross, founder of Technology Incubator Idealab, tweeted some of Roubini’s best lines:

“There are 300m people on China equivalent of Twitter complaining about inequality & corruption. This will make a difference.” Roubini #WEF

— Bill Gross (@Bill_Gross) January 27, 2012

“We need to be more inclusive. This means giving voices to the young, to women, to the poor. Social media will help this.” N.Roubini #WEF

— Bill Gross (@Bill_Gross) January 27, 2012

9.17am: Serious words from Ehud Barak, Israel’s deputy PM and defence minister, on the issue of Iran’s nuclear ambitions (our economics editor Larry Elliott reports)

Barak was appearing on the panel for the “What if Iran develops a nuclear weapon” session. He said the very idea was deeply worrying:

You can’t conceive of a stable world order when Iran has nuclear weapons.

Iran is prepared to defy and deceive the whole world to turn themselves
into a nuclear power….This will be the end of any conceivable anti-proliferation programme. Major powers in the region will feel compelled to turn nuclear.

Barak says would have been impoosible to topple Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi
had Iraq and Libya had nuclear weapons. At this stage, he said it is “time for much tougher diplomacy and sanctions”.

9.06am: Twitter has taken off at Davos this year. At least, that’s the assessment of KPMG, whose analysts have crunched the numbers and found that:

• On day one, 459 delegates generated 4,436 tweets with 8,021 replies and 18,718 retweets. The top trending topics were ‘Angela Merkel’, ‘Europe’ and ‘People’ relating to #Davos.

• On day two, 440 delegates generated 3,312 tweets with 4,816 replies and 14, 302 retweets. The top trending topics were ‘David Cameron’, ‘Africa’ and ‘Social’.

9.02am: You can watch a live feed from Davos in this window.

At present, it is streaming a feed from a session on “The Future of Tunisia”, following the Arab Spring uprising.

8.46am: In Davos, my colleague Jill Treanor is picking up a feeling of a “bigger than ever disconnect” between the business world (particularly banks) and politicians in the UK and Europe.

Jill says:

Some business people feel as if they are being punished by their governments but at the same time being required to drive economic growth because their governments are embarking on such austere budget measures.

Yet, as (another) debate about capitalism starts – entitled 2012, the year capitalism needs to be reinvented – Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International, sees it the opposite way. He asks a panel – on which Angel Gurria, secretary general of the OECD, is the star turn – if there is a feeling that banks have “got away with it” and that politicans and banks are “in bed” with each other.

Gurria talks about “unchecked greed” but reckons capitalism doesn’t need a complete rewrite. “I don’t think we’ve got to reinvent it. We’ve just got to have new policies”.

On the intervention of Howard W. Buffett, grandson of the lengendary investor, he added” “We need to do it stronger, cleaner and get away of the uglier aspects. We need to make it fairer.”

Anders Borg, the highly regarded Swedish finance minister, reckons:

We need to reinvent the way companies are functioning, Companies have responsibility to their employees, to society, We can’t have a situation where they are only focusing on bonuses.

Bonuses are hogging the headlines again, of course, after Stephen Hester of RBS was handed one worth almost £1m last night.

8.31am: Good morning. It’s the third day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, and the action keeps coming. Today we’ll be hearing from US treasury secretary Tim Geithner, OECD secretary general José Angel Gurría, Nouriel ‘Dr Doom’ Roubini …

… and of particular interest to UK readers, George Osborne and Ed Miliband.

Interesting topics up for debate include The Future of the Eurozone, and What if Iran Develops a Nuclear Weapon.

Big questions – let’s see if the Davos crowd have the answers …

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