In 2008, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, it became clear that the global economy was in big trouble. As delegates made their way to the sleepy Alpine town the Federal Reserve shocked global markets with a 75-basis-point cut in interest rates and markets across the world tanked.
Then a single trader from Societe Generale was found to have lost €5 billion ($7 billion) and the mood was one of near despair as the great and the good questioned how we got into this mess in the first place.
By the time the world’s elite met again in 2009, the SocGen crisis seemed like a mere footnote to the previous year. Lehman Brothers was gone, Europe’s banking industry was on its knees and newly-elected President Barack Obama faced the biggest crisis of confidence in the market economy since the 1930s.
You could sense the fear on the ground and all the talk was of who was not attending and who would survive the next 12 months.
With central banks and governments across the world pumping billions into the system within two months the world began to look like a better place. Stocks across the world rallied sharply and as preparations are made for the 2010 meeting the bulls are hoping the worst is now behind us.
But uncertainty continues to dominate and the bears can point to so many problems that it is very difficult to believe 2010 will be a year of mild recovery.
As the World Economic Forum itself points out in its closely watched Global Risks report there is a "significant chance" of a second financial crisis. Spotting where that crisis comes from is no easy task.
WEF predicts a 20 percent chance of a collapse in asset prices that will cost the world $1 trillion. WEF also warns of a 20 percent chance of a sovereign debt crisis and is increasingly concerned that the Chinese economy is overheating and could actually be a drag on the global economy by the time WEF meets again in 2011.