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January 31, 2009
Posted: 1150 GMT

DAVOS, Switzerland - My grandmother always warned me about "too much of a good thing". I used to think she was being mean not wanting me to gorge myself on cakes, biscuits, and candies. Only tooth cavities later did I realise the wisdom of her words...

Too much of a good thing is dangerous thing. It's the same at Davos. After three days of walking around this congress center, my head is spinning at the sheer number of "world" dignitaries with whom I have rubbed shoulders.

Today's crop included the Secretary General of the U.N., the Head of UNICEF, the presidents of Israel and Mongolia (not at the same time!) a "hello" with the CEO of Coca Cola, a handshake with Bill Gates and an interview with Prince Andrew. Phew.

As the WEF 2009 enters its final days, delegates head home having heard from the horse's mouth about how bad the situation is and the options on the table for putting it right.

Government ministers compared notes on stimulus plans, bankers discussed their lending problems, industrialists bemoaned the lack of markets.

It is fashionable at this point to declare, usually in ringing tones, that Davos is a talking shop of no real value and that I won't come back again. To anyone who says this (with the possible exception of the Turkish prime minister) the only response is "rubbish." There is no single event in the world that gives you as much access to as many important people in a relatively relaxed atmosphere.

Davos succeeds because it is unique. You couldn't invent it, and certainly couldn't replicate it today.

But "get real" Richard.

The key is to remember when it's time to leave. I don't normally mix in these circles and I shall return from whence I came. I have enjoyed hobnobbing with the world elite, but now it's time to go home. Grandma would be proud. I have remembered... too much of a good thing.

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Filed under: Business •Davos •Quest Means Business

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mary ellen Zogg   January 31st, 2009 4:39 pm ET

The WEF will be believable when the helecopters stop flying overhead from six in the morning delivering these unbelievable executives to their luxury suites where they can discuss the needs of those poor suckers down under the fog.

Hanspeter Vögtli   January 31st, 2009 5:26 pm ET

Dear Mr. Quest!

I'm proud to learn abour your feelings about the "spirit of Davos" It's interesting to see things I know for ever now seen by somebody who never been here.

I like your TV-Station CNN. Watching after the european stations left... so between 02:00h – 06:00h UTC

Be happy in your work and farewell!

Partha Panda   January 31st, 2009 5:53 pm ET

Ask yourself honestly, does this gathering of 'dignitaries' gain anything for the world? And in these times, let me pick up two of the worst things happneing- (a) mounting losses (b) worsening climate problems, such a gathering has only achieved in increasing expenses and more carbon in the air.

Elvis   January 31st, 2009 7:36 pm ET

We heard about the so called 'global water crisis' which may take place 2 decades from now in Davos. The only thing pop in my head is 'money making machine' for greedy business circle. Yup, the same circle of people who didnt anticipate this coming global financial collapse or inaction over environmental permanet pollutions which treaten lives of human globally has the ability to 'see' the coming global water crisis. What an irony.

annette   February 1st, 2009 2:07 am ET

I haven´t red any new ideas from those "leaders".

They must be of the same breed as our ABN/AMRO leaders.... worseless. go for themselves. Like to be important!
I know too many of those . No added value so.

This world has to CHANGE rapidly. The financial system as well.

Ali Baba   February 1st, 2009 8:03 am ET

What Davos members should do is to devalue their assets. The facts, they are no real cash, what they have is only garbage papers resulted from their own created derivative transactions. They're loss due to high liabilities caused by unrealized derivatives notes. The only solution is devalue their real assets and let investors from middle east to buy out it. That real needed funds may save institutions or countries from bankruptcy and may start redevelop the productions and provide jobs to save people. Don't be ashamed to do it as long as to help people.

Jerry Haliotis   February 1st, 2009 10:00 am ET

Today's main global problems are:
perhaps a better and fair redistribution of wealth is needed.
higher taxation rates to the multi-milionaires including CEO and investment gurus
we will have to invest on alternative sources , like nuclear fusion
This type of energy will solve the real needs, without affecting negatively the environment..

renewable sources like solar and wind power

redirect part world working force to agriculture and simultaneously
improve irrigation systems.Solar water desalination systems should be developped

Mlira   February 1st, 2009 3:54 pm ET

From Mexico: It is really nice to hear Mr Quest preserve his critic sense. His show is always nice.

Davos not even only serves to big tycoons, But also to cynics as the former mexican president Zedillo ( the one who sold the railroad system to americans and now is in the board of Kansas Pacific!! while in Mexico there is not a railroad system to transport people!!, I will not abound on his order to massacred Chiapas peasants) and the actual mexican "president"felipe calderon who is claiming that that Mexico now have a solid banking system. Some facts to illustrate how cynics are these guys:
In Mexico from 1994 to 1996 (Zedillos's first 2 years of goverment) the poverty increases in 20 millions.

The cost of the 20 % of the PIB only support 4% to common people, the rest was for big companies. By the way all of them now are in trouble.

Now the cost is around 2 0000 millions dls and we will remain paying it the next 30 years.

Incidentally felipe calderon was the leader of the "opposition" in those times. Now Mexico is immersed in corruption, criminality and poverty. Those are the "dignataries" living fancily in Davos.

Pathetic does not it?

Martha Ferrero   February 4th, 2009 9:13 am ET

DIGNITARIES? What have they done so far but allow themselves to be lobbied and bought by the very industries that have put us in such an economic armageddon? Let's start with CLINTON, who is probably the most lobbied of them all. These are not dignitaries. These people are also not leaders.

Linda   February 5th, 2009 9:32 pm ET

Hi Richard

I would just like to say Love your new program Quest means business
I have alway's watch you programs.
You are a great anchor and correspondent a breath of fresh air and a person who knows what he his talking about covering an extensive
rang of business stories CNN needed a program like this and Richard you are the man for the job and I look forward to your next
program on CNN and I love that you are doing a one hour show
I am British living in Kuwait.

kevin gerard newman   February 6th, 2009 2:18 pm ET

just wanted to comment on Richard s programme last evening the Kitchen Sink was highly amusing and only too relevant

its high time executives realise the scndalous state of their balance sheets and disclosed EVERYTHING to markets and investors

fair play! and thanks for the humour – we really need that too at this moment!!


Patrick A.   February 8th, 2009 8:24 am ET

"There is no single event in the world that gives you as much access to as many important people in a relatively relaxed atmosphere."
Well, easy for you to say since you have a Press-pass and an invitation. What about the protesters and what about the public; what are we supposed to do? Where are we supposed to go?
We also want to hobnob with the world’s elite!

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