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This last week, I attended the “Summer Davos” meetings of the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China, as part of a two-week trade mission by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, which I chair this year. The “Davos” crowd of name-brand global execs, and a somewhat-self-selected group of government, NGO and academic thought-leaders, is augmented for their summer meetings by an additional group of emerging nation and emerging industry representatives. This year’s implicit theme was sustainability, so alternative energy efforts took a front seat. The 2008-09 market and bank crashes are still fresh, though, so they also take up a large share of agenda time.

As an originally-European (Swiss) and China-hosted event, it featured more than a few sessions dedicated to how, and whether, the U.S. is declining. There were some interesting lessons from the conversations there; the Davos group rules permit attribution sometimes but not others.

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