January 24th, 2012
11:46 AM GMT
Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – For more than forty years, Klaus Schwab has been inviting elites to the Davos mountains. Now he admits things are "very difficult."
On Monday, Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum’s founder and executive director, told me he was disappointed with the progress made by leaders during 2011. He had been "hopeful that the economy would grow again. That is not the case." Schwab admitted he was "irritated by an increasing lack of willingness to deal with global issues."
Klaus Schwab is not a man noted for hyperbole or exaggeration. So when he told me of his worries about a "bunker mentality" or "burnout" in voters who "cannot cope anymore," then it’s probably time to worry.
The reason this is so worrying is that there are still so many problems to be solved. Some, like Greece, are in danger of getting worse. There is still no solution, and the politicians are miles away from agreeing on the future direction for the euro crisis.
With elections in the US and France, the opportunity to make serious progress must be viewed as limited. The temptation will be to go for the popular vote, which may well mean putting off the nastiest decisions.
Most surprisingly, Schwab said capitalism was “outdated.” “Capitalism was born when capital was the most important resource. Today, it is talent that is most important." Thankfully for the bankers coming here, he still believes in a market economy.