Voice

The globalization wisdom of David Paterson (UPDATED)

Davos — a.k.a., the World Economic Forum — is upon us, and there are conflicting reports about the overall attendance at the conference.  There is a general consensus, however, that politicians will be overshadowing businessmen at this year’s conclave. This is all to the good.  World trade is shrinking for the first time since the early ...

Davos — a.k.a., the World Economic Forum — is upon us, and there are conflicting reports about the overall attendance at the conference.  There is a general consensus, however, that politicians will be overshadowing businessmen at this year’s conclave.

This is all to the good.  World trade is shrinking for the first time since the early eighties.  Perhaps getting the best political telent on the planet together in Switzerland will shake the policy gridlock loose.

Davos — a.k.a., the World Economic Forum — is upon us, and there are conflicting reports about the overall attendance at the conference.  There is a general consensus, however, that politicians will be overshadowing businessmen at this year’s conclave.

This is all to the good.  World trade is shrinking for the first time since the early eighties.  Perhaps getting the best political telent on the planet together in Switzerland will shake the policy gridlock loose.

Consider, for example, New York governor David Paterson.  Fresh from his meticuluous, classy, and error-free selection of Hillary Clinton’s replacement for the Senate, Paterson is headed for Davos.  Here are his deep thoughts on why he is going:

[The] question involved Mr. Paterson’s trip to Davos, Switzerland, which his office announced on Saturday. Much of the five-day forum will focus on how countries and central banks can address the global downturn, and Mr. Paterson said the United States stood to gain by lending money to other countries.

“There’s an immense opportunity if we use some of those resources to try and make loans available to other countries,” he said. “It would give us bigger resources for the taxpayers.”

“There’s a desire to have leaders from around the country be in Davos to talk about the interests of a lot of countries right now whose exports are limited,” he said, before leaving the hotel.

A contest for readers:  convert Paterson’s answer into coherent prose.  Bonus points if you can convert it into prose that justifies Paterson’s trip.

UPDATE:  Apparently Paterson couldn’t convert this answer into plain English either — he’s changed his mind about going to Davos.

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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