"Davos" said a delegate to me as we sipped champagne in the art-nouveau-style lobby of the Schatzalp Hotel "is full of men gnashing and wailing, dazed and confused by the debt-deflationary spiral. As the newspapers have faithfully recorded the Davos sessions have provided little in the way of strategic direction out of this black hole. Instead there have been lots of rather hapless suggestions: 'lets try this...No, hang on, why don't we try that....?' by the very men appointed and elected as stewards, managers and guardians of the financial system.
On a panel entitled "the values behind capitalism" Mrs Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico conspicuously distanced herself and her company from 'the financiers'. The capitalism of "main street", she said, was being declared guilty by association "with the other street" -- Wall Street.
Good for her. Later, just as the US stock market tanked again, she appeared as a ray of light at an event billed 'An Important Dinner for Women'. Present were 100 of the world's most effective women, including Arianna Huffington, Melinda Gates, Christiane Amanpour of CNN, Shriti Vadera (overseeing the British bank bail-out) Dr. Margaret Chan, Head of WHO, Mrs Sarah Brown wife of the British Prime Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala of the World Bank -- and yours truly.
We were gathered together, courtesy of Matthew Freud, to strategise and organise to save the lives of millions of mothers. In other words, to recognise that unlike financiers, mothers lay sound and lasting foundations for any nation's economy. While we can do without financiers stripping us of our savings and assets, we can't do without mothers. For without their prudent management generations would not be fed, clothed, nursed, loved, educated, civilised and sent out into the world.
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