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Masters No More

Cape Times (South Africa), February 2, 2009 | Go to article overview

Masters No More


A WEEK ago it might have been possible to hope that the current financial crisis would not inevitably lead to a devastating global economic recession. But over the past week, one of the most intense and depressing of the World Economic Forum's 30 years of annual meetings of the world's rich and powerful will have utterly destroyed those hopes.

It was not only that many of the world's top political and business leaders seemed in agreement that we were indeed facing the worst economic conditions seen in 60 years, it was also that each day brought new economic data that described a significantly deteriorating situation. And, lest the rich and powerful in the rarified atmosphere of Davos were tempted to think that they still had claim to being "masters of the universe", each evening, news shots of protesters across Europe and Russia reminded them of the dangers of imagining that they were still in control.

While there was little of the pomposity that has characterised previous Davos sessions, there was also a troubling lack of a sense of responsibility by those who had been in the driving seat; not of guilt, but just responsibility. Without a sense of responsibility, the events that made this crisis inevitable are sure to be repeated when memories are a little dulled.

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