Davos Diaries: The West is not working

In Davos, there is an over-arching sense that the West failed. Are India, China doomed to repeat the same mistakes?

Munizae Jehangir January 30, 2011
As I attend speak to various members of the 2,200 business elite, top politicians and journalists who have gathered at the annual World Economic Forum at Davos there is a sad realization in the air: the West is not working.

The global polarization between the haves and have-nots is taking its toll on progress and if the Western world seeks to move forward it must bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Former President of the United States Bill Clinton addressed a gathering here. He said:
"My concern is that businesses and governments in this difficult environment will see the meeting of the Millenium Development Goals as optional, as something that they can cut down on...We have to be concerned about inequality in the world and find a way to integrate shared progress into our reality. The 21st century belongs to a lot of countries but the world will be better if America remains a positive force and so we have to be able to (be) economically stable."

Clinton was obviously referring to the emerging markets here in the East, like China and India, who have put their best foot forward at the World Economic Forum.

Framing itself as ‘Inclusive India’ the country has over 100 delegates at the forum.

Most of the best parties at Davos are sponsored by rich Indian businessman and the closing night of the World Economic Forum will be an Indian soiree as well.

On the other hand, the Pakistanis are few and mostly placed on panels like ‘The Security Agenda of 2011.’

The only prominent Pakistani at the WEF is Imran Khan who keeps hammering the same point:
“The present government is morally corrupt; the time is ripe for a Tunisian like revolution; the war on terror is a failed strategy and peace will immediately come to the region if NATO troops leave Afghanistan.”

The reaction to his emotional plea has been: “You are being naive Mr. Khan, problems are far more complex.”

And indeed they are.

Leaders at the forum have also come to the realization that the West has gone terribly wrong by supporting regimes for short-term benefits.

If real progress is to be made the Western world must provide a helping hand to under-developed nations and individuals (an idea that the architects of ‘India Inclusive’ have yet to grapple with).

While emerging markets celebrate their successes in consumerism the West is realizing it’s failures. Will India and China markets learn something from the mistakes the old powerful world made?
Munizae Jehangir A special correspondent for Express 24/7 who co-hosts current affais program 'Platform'. She is currently reporting from the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Amer | 11 years ago | Reply @Munizae: Nice blog! I guess you could write another one to tell us about the different prespectives people had on Imran Khan's comments etc. @Ravi: Do people like you have anything constructive to say? EVER? At least she's trying to make valid points here.
Vidyut | 11 years ago | Reply I don't know the ground situation there, but from the sound of it, the LEAs would find it very difficult to deal with the Taliban. More so, LEAs are local and very vulnerable to infiltration in a people that are already disillusioned with the government. Better would be what you guys finally did in Swat - getting forces that are not local. The Army seems the only entity equipped to do that. I think the biggest thing is to find a way to question everything. Then you will start getting answers that will help you decide. Question the government, question the Army, question the Mullahs, question the Taliban. Most importantly, question everything you are supposed to unquestioningly believe. Another big thing I think could help is banning personal arms. Its half the fight won if an angry man doesn't have a gun to fire. To whatever extent you can. Sure, there will still be illegal arms and stuff. But at least you will have got rid of some. You can increase the number as you go on. It will also help law enforcement if guns are illegal, because then it becomes really easy to spot the terrorist. It becomes easy to arrest people for the possession of arms itself rather than go in to mop up after a few people are dead. And it isn't so bad. I have never seen a gun up close like most Indians. I don't think we are missing anything. If anything, we are actually safer, because then people are forced to find less fatal ways of sorting out disputes.
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