Economy: Losing Our Faith

At the World Economic Forum, leaders will try to understand why people no longer trust authority

For a world leader, it must have set some sort of miserable record: in a poll in December, just 1% of French voters said they wanted President Jacques Chirac to stand for re-election in 2007. For Chirac, that capped a terrible year of economic torpor, electoral setback and, in November, a fiery eruption of social unrest in the suburbs of Paris and other major cities. Trying to restore his authority, the French President gave his customary televised New Year's address to the nation. "We must believe in France," he told his compatriots in a pathos-filled speech quickly lampooned by the nation's...

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