Protesters at WEF.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann )
A straw poll conducted among current and recently retired policymakers reflected a wider mood of short-term relief tinged with longer-term doubt among the world's movers and shakers at a farwell dinner concluding this year's World Economic Forum session in Davos.
High-level private meetings over four days in Davos helped many appreciate that progress is being made in Europe. A secret steering group of top European and US policymakers, the ECB's Draghi and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde discussed how to strengthen financial defenses to protect the euro zone.
The group, including finance ministers of France, Germany and the United States, discussed a plan to assemble a combined warchest of 1.5 trillion euros by the time of the International Monetary Fund's spring meeting in April, one participant said.
Many Davos delegates praised new Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti's efforts to shake up the Italian economy, balance the budget and overhaul inefficient state structures.
Yet a note of caution is in order. The Occupy movement, which went global after protests against Wall Street last year, camped in igloos to bring its argument with the super-rich "1 percent" to Davos. It is a reminder to the leaders of finance and industry at the World Economic Forum of the resentment that is leading to questions about the future direction of capitalism.