Davos: the four key takeaways
Katie Martin looks back at the main themes of the World Economic Forum from Davos this week.
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KATIE MARTIN: Hello from from Davos, where the World Economic Forum is in its final day. It's a marathon, not a sprint, let me tell you. A lot of people have headed home already, some of them on their private jets, heading to the US presidential inauguration. But let me just wrap up what the big themes have been.
Well, you've got to think about the big address by Xi Jinping of China. He was here to talk about defending the case for globalisation. There's been a big push-back politically, in the US, in the UK, across Europe, and he's been here to talk about the benefits that globalisation brings, and also to talk about how some of the problems in the world actually are not globalisation's fault. He also sounded very Obama-like talking about the need to protect the environment. So, that was a big moment.
The second, of course, has been Donald Trump, who becomes president this week. Now, this has been a bit of a strange one to the extent that a lot of the panel sessions that I've seen where people have been talking about him, they haven't actually used his name. They've talked about populism in the US. They've talked about nasty politics. They've talked about hacking by Russia. But a lot of these things haven't ever named Donald Trump. He's kind of a Voldemort, a character whose name you dare not speak.
On the flip side, people have been very quick to use the name Vladimir Putin. If you just looking at the speech by Joe Biden, US Vice President for another few hours, he very much singled him out as a big cause of economic and geopolitical problems across the world.
For companies, for CEOs, one of the big themes this year has been looking again at the impact of automating people's jobs. This time last year, the Brexit hadn't happened. Donald Trump hadn't been elected. And so, companies could rattle along automating jobs, perhaps without really thinking about the real life consequences. That has come to a stop. Now, the big conversation here has been about how we keep people in employment, and how people's jobs change, and how it all alters the social equation.
Lastly, of course, Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister. She came over here to Davos to tell the rootless global elite that she remains committed to her friends in Europe. That she remains committed to globalisation. That she remains committed to transatlantic alliances. Now, the message here is great, and people like the sentiment behind it. But there's a real doubt about how this is going to work in practise.
When it actually comes to the UK's negotiations on how it leaves the EU, people are very worried about things like threatening to cut taxes to keep up competition. There's a danger here that the UK is seen as a real outlier, that it's seen as the one that's putting threats to the EU, not the other way around in how the negotiations go. This time next year, we should be in the meat of those negotiations. What the mood will be like between the two sides is anyone's guess.