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"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

Davos elite leaves, fearing dark days

January 28, 2008

By Barry Neild

DAVOS, Switzerland January 27, 2008 (CNN) -- The world will weather its
financial storm, but must battle climate change, poverty and conflict to
reap a new "industrial revolution," the global business elite said
Sunday, trying to dispel pessimism that has hung over a major meeting in
Switzerland.

As the five-day World Economic Forum wrapped up in the remote ski resort
of Davos, the event's co-chairs gathered for one last effort to steer
the agenda away from market turmoil and promote its goals of achieving
positive global change.

But the meeting -- which began a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve made
a surprise 0.75 point rate cut as it struggled to calm roller coaster
financial markets, a move that drew mixed reaction in Davos -- was
racked with recession anxieties to the last.

There was also criticism that the annual meeting of more than 2,500
global powerbrokers -- often criticized for being little more than a
talking shop -- had shied away from key discussing issues such as the
conflict in Darfur.

"People have to keep in mind, throughout history we have always had
cycles, people shouldn't be surprised," JP Morgan CEO James Dimon, one
of the event's co-chairs told the closing debate, hosted by CNN's Hala
Gorani.

"In the past 10 or 20 years world economies have taken two billion
people of poverty. We have the chance to do amazing stuff, the cycle
will turn one way or the other," he said.

Co-chair K.V. Nath, head of India's ICICI Bank said that while a
slowdown in the U.S. economy would have global consequences, the process
of decoupling -- the growing autonomy of other world economies -- would
limit damage.

"Decoupling is just starting to happen, it is early days yet, nobody
talks of a slowing down just yet. Decoupling has started but the U.S. is
center stage.

"Three hundred years later when we look at this period of time we will
say that this is like an industrial revolution taking place."

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, meanwhile, stressed the
crucial role of economics in ending conflict, underscoring his role as
Middle East peace envoy and the Davos meeting's efforts to shake its
image as a corporate schmooze-fest.

"If there is economic development then the politics is easier. If the
people are poor and miserable then it is harder," he said.

Blair added: "The good news about our world today is that idealism is
the new realism and the reason for that is the interconnectedness."

PepsiCo chief Indra K. Nooyi, defended corporate efforts to combat
global warming, insisting the concept of faceless businesses that pursue
profit with no concern for its consequences was a thing of the past.
"Corporation has soul," she said.

Blair added that he was confident efforts to tackle climate change would
bear fruit, "but no one should underestimate the scale of the challenge."

He said: "President Bush is right, you could have a deal within the
year. I mean I'm not saying that's it's going to happen but I think it's
perfectly feasible to contemplate that but it's only going to happen if
the facts on the ground change."

On Saturday in Davos, Japan's prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, stressed the
need for environmental progress, proposing a 2020 deadline for countries
to boost their energy efficiency by 30 percent. Watch exclusive CNN
interview with Fukuda

But efforts by delegates including U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon, celebrity
activist Bono and Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, to drive ethical
debate at Davos, drew harsh words from Nobel prize-winner Elie Wiesel,
complained at the failure to tackle the Darfur issue.

Wiesel, drew loud applause at the closing debate by also calling for
Beijing to ease restrictions in Tibet, a demand that appeared to
embarrass China Mobile boss Wang Jianzhou, another of the co-chairs at
Davos.

"I would like China to open its door to the Dalai Lama, so I can
accompany him to Tibet," Wiesel said.
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