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Business Briefing 30/01

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Searching for Credibility in the Snow; It’s Never Too Late for Bill Gates

Searching for Credibility in the Snow

Sometimes any news can be good news. Last year’s edition of capitalism’s backslapping camaraderie conclave in the alpine resort of Davos was unusually sombre.  Stunned by the sudden and dramatic collapse of global financial markets, and the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression, the traditional conscience keepers of capitalism also had a tough time dealing with criticism from emerging economies such as India and China for pooping their party. China’s Premiere Wen Jia Bao pulled no punches and blamed the West’s greed for the catastrophe. With real signs of green shoots, the latest edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF) that kicks off this week is likely to witness slightly more cheerful and relieved faces. And the theme too seems appropriately chosen: ‘Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign and Rebuild’. Many believe that global business leaders and key policymakers will use the platform to reclaim some of their lost credibility by harking on accountability and corporate social responsibility, considering the doubts raised about the event’s relevance and purpose.  Much of the spotlight will again be on India and China who’ve clocked better-than-expected growth rates over the last six months, paving the way for a larger global recovery.  Indian politicians especially would be much sought after, going by the conference agenda, to ‘understand’ the economic implications of a second consecutive victory and enhanced mandate for the UPA. There’s still plenty of curiosity on India’s commitment to massive infrastructure spending, and the business opportunities it presents. Why, even Indian DJ Megha Kawale will whip up some Bollywood remixes for the pin-striped honchos when they aren’t discussing strategies to reboot the world economy.

It’s Never Too Late for Bill Gates

For a geek who founded what’s now the world’s largest software company, Bill Gates’ entry into the world of electronic social networking has been rather late. Gates made his debut as a blogger earlier this month with a personal weblog called thegatesnotes.com, where he is pretty active reviewing books like Super Freakanomics, giving opinion on sustainable development, and writing of chance encounters with unsung activists. ‘I thought it would be interesting to share these conversations more widely with a website, in the hope of getting more people thinking and learning about the issues I think are interesting and important. So, welcome to the Gates Notes,’ he wrote, introducing his blog. Since giving up full-time responsibilities at Microsoft, Gates has turned an ideas man at large. We don’t know if he’s joined the swelling ranks of Facebookers, but he seems adequately bitten by the social media bug to even start micro-blogging on Twitter. In less than a week of tweeting, Gates has attracted more than 360,000 followers. Match that, Tharoor!