Often dubbed a smaller, duller version of Davos (another blah-blah fest), this year's gathering at the Bev Hills Hilton got started with a panel on economic growth that included Pimco's Mohamed A. El-Erian, Citigroup economist and CNBC's Maria Bartiromo who moderated. From the NYT's Kevin Roose:
Much of the debate fell along familiar lines. (Emerging markets, fiscal tightening, Europe and the 2012 presidential election all made appearances.) Mr. El-Erian said Europe's conundrum "basically comes down to three issues: too little growth, too much debt and too little differentiation." As wonky economic conversations do, talk on the panel quickly turned to China. Is the country's growth real? Is it possible to invest wisely in China given political challenges in the nation? While pointing out some of the challenges facing China, Mr. El-Erian remained upbeat. "This is a country that has the tools and ability to navigate a difficult journey," he said.
Sam Zell received the most attention this morning by saying "there is no 'effing' demand" in Europe.
*Matthew Garrahan tweets: Starwood CEO Barry Sternlicht received loud applause when he attacked Obama for "not understanding business...we need a CEO in the White House."