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Schumpeter: A world of trouble

January 10, 2013

IN ?THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN? by Thomas Mann, a young businessman visits his ailing cousin in a sanatorium in Davos, in the Swiss Alps. The businessman starts to feel unwell himself. The sanatorium?s chief doctor, who also owns the place, advises him to rest. He ends up staying for seven interminable years.Reading reports on risk can have much the same effect. The more you read, the more risks you see; eventually, you succumb to nervous exhaustion. This week saw the publication of two particularly angst-inducing accounts: ?Global Risks 2013?, by the World Economic Forum (which meets in Davos this month), and ?Top Risks 2013?, by the Eurasia Group, a consultancy.It is nevertheless worth pouring yourself a stiff whisky and ploughing through all those pages about ?chronic labour-market imbalances? and ?the unforeseen consequences of climate-change mitigation?. These reports not only provide warnings about dangers that can be avoided by better planning or clearer thinking. They also suggest opportunities?for it is a basic law of business that one man?s cliff is another?s ladder.The WEF explores some familiar problems, such as rising inequality and the fragility of the...

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