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13 April 2012 23:15

Economic confidence highest in four quarters: Lee Howell - MD, World Economic Forum

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Alec Hogg is a writer and broadcaster. He founded Moneyweb

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    On the improving global confidence outlook.


    ALEC HOGG: The World Economic Forum’s global confidence index released today showed continued improvement on the economic front. But the hundreds of experts who participate in it warned that there is a risk of a major geopolitical shock. I spoke a little earlier today to Switzerland’s World Economic Forum’s managing director Lee Howell.

    LEE HOWELL: The one thing I take out of it, in our confidence survey, is that the experts in the world, although they may have growing concerns about geopolitics, are less concerned about geo-economic shocks, and certainly maintain the scepticism about global institutions. By and large they continue to feel that global cooperation which can happen – and they’re more confident in that element and I think that’s very important to appreciate that at the end of the day if the problem is going to impact us all, as humans we’re all social animals in that we will come together and somehow find a way to work together. I find that, at least in my view, that’s what reassures me that people haven’t lost faith in the fact that we could still cooperate – despite the economic, political or governance challenges.

    ALEC HOGG: And I guess we have the tools now in social media to be able to do just that?

    LEE HOWELL: You hit it right on the nose there. I think the notion that you can cooperate and really self-organise so quickly – I suppose in some quarters that’s quite frightening but in other quarters it’s a wonderful development because it’s empowering. And again, it lets you cooperate outside of structures that may impede that cooperation. But at minimum it builds awareness, and if you know something, and you know something and you don’t act on it, you can’t claim ignorance of the fact. I think it does stir people to do something if they know that something is not going in the right direction. That whole social media phenomenon in its various forms and relations around the different regions of the world is, I think, quite powerful in that regard.

    ALEC HOGG: Lee Howell is the managing director of the World Economic Forum.
        Some good news, then on a generally difficult or, as it was best described, fragile outlook for the world for the next 12 months.

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