T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E

Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum

Help Site Map Text Only

First Lady

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 2, 1998

Hillary Rodham Clinton
at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum

Davos, Switzerland
February 2, 1998
(Begin transcript)

PROFESSOR KLAUS SCHWAB: Dear Madam First Lady, dear Mrs. Hillary Clinton, it is with purposethat I address you in those two forms, because we welcome you here not only as the representative of acountry which is the greatest power in the world, but we welcome you as a personality who in her own righthas won high recognition for the causes you stand for as a relentless advocate for those who aredisadvantaged and who need to be integrated into our efforts to improve the state of the world.

We have launched here, in Davos, a comprehensive initiative Trustees 21, to take on the challenges in thetransition of human kind into the 21st Century. We are eager to hear from you. How you see the individualand collective priorities for our common future. Ladies and Gentlemen, let's welcome again Mrs. Clinton, amost remarkable, a most courageous woman of our times.

FIRST LADY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Good evening, thank you very much Professor Schwab,and thank all of you for the invitation to address this forum. I appreciated greatly the opportunity to come andbe part of these sessions, and to speak with you about the priorities for the 21st Century, as seen perhapsfrom a slightly different perspective from the one that brings many of you here to this conference.

After having looked at the program, and seen some of the sessions, I think it is probably more appropriate torefer to this gathering as the World Economic, Political and Social Forum, because certainly in the discussionsthat I have been privileged to hear about and to hear directly, it has struck me that there is a very strongawareness of how interdependent the economic, political and social spheres of life happen to be.

It issomething that I think we need to pay even closer attention to. Certainly when one thinks about the economy,whether it is the economy of a business, of a nation state, or of our entire globe, one talks a great deal aboutthe importance of and the significance of the free market. And I believe that as we end this century, any doubtabout the effectiveness of organizing our economy along the lines of a free market, have finally been put torest. That is one of the major accomplishments, perhaps, of this past century. That we now understand that thegreatest capacity to create employment, income, wealth and investment is derived from a free market.

At the same time, I hope we have also recognized as we end this century, that we need effective, functioning,competent governments. Governments that are neither oppressive, nor too strong and authoritarian, nor on theother hand, so weak that they can neither deliver goods and services for the public good to their citizenry orplay the kind of partnership role that they should in connection with a vital free market.

But if that's all we were to speak about, the economy on the one hand, and government on the other, wewould be leaving out one of the most important aspects of what we should turn our attention to as we moveinto this new century, that is society, civil society, because between the marketplace and the government, iswhat exists that makes life worth living. It is the stuff of life. It is the family, it is the religious belief andspirituality that guide us. It is the voluntary association of which we are a member. It is the art and culture thatmakes our spirits soar.

I think as we look at the end of this century and the beginning of the next, it behooves all of us, no matter whatour perspective or experience, to think hard about how we create conditions in which the economy,governments and the civil society all flourish. Think of it, if you will, as a three-legged stool. We are not stableif we are only on one leg, no matter how strong the economy might be, no matter how strong a governmentmight be. We are also not stable if we rest merely on two legs of the stool. Rather we need to see theindependence and connection among the economy, the government and the civil society. And more than that, Ithink we need to recognize the ways in which each of those spheres of influence are affected by the other. Iknow there has been a great deal of useful conversation here about what needs to be done to help managecrises such as the Asian crisis, how to better provide technical assistance for banking supervision and theregulation of markets in many countries around the world, even suggestions as to what could be done tocreate more of a global regulator atmosphere along the lines perhaps of a new Bretton Woods.

These are all very important conversations. And I hope that the economic and political leaders gathered herewill certainly follow up on them through the various entities that exist, and perhaps some that are yet to beborn, so that we can address these very important problems that are posed by the state of the economytoday. We have also heard how important it is for governments to work with the economies of their countriesand regions and globally, and how significant it is to find the right balance between regulation that permits realcompetition to flourish and that which stifles entrepreneurship. So there is much for governments also toponder coming out of this conference. How can they do a better job to unleash the energies of their people toprovide environments in which businesses can flourish? How do they become more transparent? How do theystand against corruption? How do they create the instruments that are needed for governments today toprovide the kind of support for the economy at the same time that they provide the sort of capacity for theirpeople to be able to thrive in this new economic environment? I will leave it to others, many of whom haveaddressed you, to speak about how we can do more to make sure that our markets do what they should do,and to make sure that our governments do likewise.

But what I want to address is this third leg of the stool. A leg of the stool that I think is too often given shortshrift in such conversations as those that take place here, or perhaps marginalized as being something less thanimportant to the significant business of governing and creating economic opportunity.

Our founders in the American republic at the end of the eighteenth century left us with some very good advicethat they enshrined in our founding documents and which we have over our centuries of developmentattempted to adapt to modern conditions. They warned us about unaccountable power, they warned us aboutcreating checks and balances, and they set up a system that they thought would create a balance of power. Ithink that is what we have to see in creating such a balance among our economic interests, our governmentaland political activities and the civil society. One without the other will create an imbalance.

I have been privileged to travel over the past several years to many of the new democracies around the world,particularly in the former Soviet Union. I have seen what has happened to people whose spirits have beencrushed, whose economies have been driven into the ground, whose governments were authoritarian, as theyattempt to rebuild a sense of potential and opportunity for themselves. It is very clear if one visits thesecountries that economic opportunity will certainly provide jobs and income but not necessarily long-termstability or governments that understand their duties to their citizens. It is also clear that stable governments, asimportant as they are, may not bring about those conditions that are essential to creating long-term socialstability.

So in my travels I have focused on this third leg of the stool, the civil society, and I have seen many changeswithin the last several years, as governments and economic interests understand that there must be createdwithin society, the work ethic for capitalism to thrive and continue, a sense of citizenship for governments to bestable and succeed one another peacefully. And so how do we nurture this civil society? Why is it in theinterest of business leaders, such as many of you, to worry about whether in the countries in which you dobusiness there is an effort being made to create these civil society functions and institutions? Why should youcare whether women are given the opportunity to go to school, or have health care, or vote? Why should youworry whether or not children are being taught basic lessons about democracy or not? Well, I would argueagain that it is in your long term interests to do so: to have conditions in the countries in which you do businesssupportive over the medium and long term of what we mean by a free market, and to have governments thatunderstand their appropriate roles.

So I would urge that as we look towards the end of this century, as many of you work on the important issuesof helping to perfect the imperfect mechanism of a free market, worrying about the many inherent problemsthat have been pointed out, that lead often to instability, particularly in financial markets today. Those of youwho are directly involved in helping governments in Asia and elsewhere understand why it is imperative thatthey reform themselves, that you also think about what we can do to strengthen civil society. How do wecreate conditions for families to be strong in an age where family values and where the kinds of ideas onewould wish to pass on to one's children face very stiff competition from the consumer culture, frompropaganda, and from a media that stresses short term gratification. How do we support religious freedom,making it clear that we will honor the spiritual beliefs and journeys of people different from ourselves? How dowe work together to create conditions in which tribal and ethnic and racial and other differences amongpeople can be controlled and kept in check. And how can we create opportunities for common enterprisesthat go beyond the differences that too often divide us? How do we nurture non-governmental organizations insocieties have no history of voluntary or charitable activity? How do we create associations that standbetween the marketplace and the government, but give people an opportunity to excersize their own skills tobecome good citizens?

All of these are questions that are being addressed in various ways by many organizations around the world. Ihave stood in barrios in Latin America and in villages in Asia and Africa where I have seen the effects ofmicro-enterprise on the capacity of women to make an income for themselves, and not only to make anincome, but to feel empowered so that they can become citizens of their village and of their country, so thatthey can begin to understand not only how a market works, but how a society and a political democracy workas well. I have watched creative projects all over the world that have taken the very poorest of the poor, andempowered them to learn about what it means to live in a democracy. And I have talked with students onevery continent about their hopes and aspirations that they will be able to navigate what to them seems like avery difficult journey into the next century. And they have asked for help and guidance, whether it is mentoringor internships or opportunities to work with businesses and government, so they can learn from adults aboutwhat works and what they can follow in their own lives and careers.

There are many large problems that confront us as a world. It is impossible to think of any corporation, nomatter how large, or any government, no matter how powerful, addressing these alone. Whether we like it ornot, we are more interdependent today than we have ever been. I believe that interdependence is a gooddevelopment. And it should be respected by governments and businesses alike. Because through it we canmeet mutual challenges of environmental degradation or security threats, and we can also work together tohelp build up strong, functioning markets, governments and civil societies.

I would just end these remarks by reminding us tonight that there isn't any perfect human institution. There isno perfect market except in the abstract theories of economists. There is no perfect government except in thedreams of political leaders. And there is no perfect society. We have to work with human beings as we findthem. And we have learned a lot about what works. And the lesson of the global economy will certainly bethat those who ignore the lessons that we have learned about effective functioning markets and political andgovernmental leadership will pay a steep price. That may be a necessary part of the learning curve. But as wego into the 21st Century, if we can keep in mind the balance of power among these three spheres that effectall of our lives, and if we can look for ways to work cooperatively together, then I think the doomsayers andthe pessimists will be proven wrong. I wouldn't want to be more optimistic than conditions warrant, but I thinkbased on the conversations that I've heard coming out of this conference, from people in a position to affecteconomic and governmental action, there is every reason to believe that there is a new awareness growingamong the decision makers around the world about the steps that must be taken in order to ensure stabilityand sustained growth. I'll only ask that in that calculus, we remember the billions of men, women and childrenwho are effectively without a voice, often without a vote, and that we understand that our long-term success,either economically or governmentally, will ultimately depend upon wether we empower them as well, to taketheir rightful places in forums around the world where they plan their own futures. Thank you very much.

SCHWAB: Mrs. Hillary Clinton, you have reminded us of our obligations, of our obligations toward society.As the First Lady, you have pursued an incredible active agenda to promote the social progress. Now,looking at the future, and I may ask you a very personnal question, what is your personnal priority for theremainder of the 21st Century in this respect.

CLINTON: You mean what will I do for the next three years?

SCHWAB: What will you in your own work put emphasis on?

CLINTON: I think I will continue to emphasize the issues that I have tried to speak out about, worked on,and addressed in my writing, and that is the need to invest in the future of children around the world. I don'tknow how many Americans in the audience heard Larry Summers say yesterday as it was reported to me thata child in Shanghai has a better chance of living to the age of five than a child born in New York City. But Ihope if you did hear it, it caused some pause among you.

Of course it is not only in our own country where we have not done all we should to provide the opportunitiesfor health and education and well-being for our children. It is certainly a problem that affects most if not all thenations of the world. And I believe it is the best investment we can make in long-term stability to provideopportunities for education, and healthcare, to work on thorny issues like family planning and environmentaldegredation that affect the well-being of children, and to do all we can to provide the best possible beginningfor as many children as we can reach, and that is what I will continue to work on and speak out about.

SCHWAB: In this context, you have hear in front of you many of the CEOs of leading American companies,and you have been a proponent of moving toward the program of universal health coverage. The program todate has met mixed success, and generally little enthusiasm from the business community. So my questionwould be, why should the business community have this program as a priority? What would you tell thebusiness leaders here in this respect?

CLINTON: Well I think your characterization of it meeting with mixed success was too kind. I still believethat economically, politically, socially, and morally, the United States would be better off if it provideduniversal health care coverage for all of its citizens.

I think the economic arguments will again come to the fore. There was a pullback in the cost of healthinsurance to the major providers of it in our country, which our employers during the last several years ... butthat apparently is about to turn around, and the cost of insurance will once again begin to rise. There has been,since 1993, an increase in the number of uninsured Americans, and an increase in the number of underinsuredAmericans. I believe that should pose a question for all of us as to whether or not we think it is appropriate forour country, as rich and powerful as it is, to be denying access to the kind of preventive and chronic healthcare coverage that many people miss out on .

It is true that most people will be taken in by an emergency room, perhaps not the first one they visit, if theyare not insured, but perhaps the second or third one if they are lucky enough to still be around by the time theyarrive. And that if that were the only assessment we would make, we would say, well eventually everyone getscare. But we are paying a very big price for those who do not get timely or preventive care.

In addition, there is another problem, which is that there are many functions of the American medical systemwhich have helped us to attain the high level of quality that it currently enjoys, which can never be profitable.

There is no way for most research to be profitable. There is no way for the education and training of youngphysicians or nurses to be profitable. And there is no way for charity care to be profitable. And thosefunctions are primarily performed in our country by our great medical schools and medical centers. Becausethey cannot turn a profit on performing those functions which are performed to the benefit of our entire system,they are at great financial risk. They are being forced into mergers, and they are finding themselves in aposition of having to cut back on those functions. That is like eating the seed corn of the American health caresystem, in my view.

So there are a number of problems in my view, and I think that there is an ideological opposition among manyin the American business community to the American government being any part of providing universal care.But of course we provide universal care to our citizens over the age of 65 through Medicare. And we provideit at the cheapest overhead and administrative cost of any insurance program in the United States. I daresay ifyou went back and you talked to your benefits people or your CFOs, and you asked them what percentageof the health care dollar you were spending on your employees, that went to administration and overhead andprofit, compared with the two cents out of the dollar that goes to Medicare, you would have to ask yourself, isthis an ideological opposition that no longer makes economic sense, or shall I hang on to it while I find mycapacity to provide health insurance for my employees further diminished, thereby creating more instability inthe system. So I hope that we will continue to address these issues in the future.

SCHWAB: Under your husband's leadership, the US has emerged as a world leader in technology, finance,military power. What are the domestic key factors and priorities that you believe are required to maintain thisleadership in the long run.

CLINTON: Well, I think my husband very well outlined those priorirites in his State of the Union last Tuesdayevening. He was able to address the remaining issues that he believes should be at the forefront of theAmerican political debate, both domestically and internationally. And I think that if one were to look at themthey would fall roughly into the categories that he has already outlined and has been speaking about for manyyears.

The first is to provide conditions that offer economic opportunity to as many of our people as possibly can bereached, and that has been I think very effectively accomplished during my husband's administration. We arevery lucky, I believe, in having a president who understands not only politics, but economics, and has a veryexperienced, seasoned team, which is able to implement that policy. And the result is that we have, as you allknow, reversed some rather disturbing trends that we saw in the late eighties and early nineties and emergedvery strong economically.

But it is certainly clear that we have not by any means finished the job that has begun, and the President spokeabout providing better educational opportunities, so that we have more of our people trained so that they cantake the jobs that are available in the global economy. He has continued to press for more trade agreementsand opening markets because he believes that America can compete and do very well internationally and hewill continue to press that arguement in the future. He has also spoken about trying to make it possible to put afloor, a social safety net, under some of our people, who are poorly educated, who are left out of the globaleconomy through increasing the minimum wage again, and he has also talked about providing economicsupport for social security, child care, which is a very big issue in our country, with so many women working,and single women who are the sole support of their families, and our two parent families.

So I think he has outlined a very clear agenda for trying to provide more opportunity. At the same time, he hasasked for more responsibility. Probably the clearest example of what that responsibility means is ourcontinuing effort to reform our welfare system, to move people from welfare to work. He has also advocatedstrongly that Americans must be prepared to take their responsiblity as citizens seriously and has advocatedcampaign finance reform so that our electoral system can have the confidence of the people, which it should.

Finally, he sees very clearly the role of the United States in building a community within our country and beingpart of building a community around the world. He has put on the table a race initiative to address the stillunfinished business of race in the United States. It is controversial. It is challenging many people to think hardabout what they believe. But it is very important if we are to try to create, among our very diverse population,a sense of common destiny and shared purpose.

He has also tried to help the American people understand why the United States must remain engaged aroundthe world. And here I would also address the American business leaders in this audience. It is imperative thatthose of you who understand the global economy, who visit and do business in many countries, share yourknowledge of what you see occuring around the world with members of Congress, with leaders of yourcommunity, with anyone who you can reach, because we cannot build a public consensus for Americanengagement if the American business community is not a strong supporter of that engagement. And I wouldjust ask that you think hard about what you can do to try to have your voices heard. One quick example,during the last session of Congress, when the President's plan for the United States to pay its debts to theUnited Nations, and to replenish our commitment to the IMF, came before the House of Representatives, itwas not voted on because of a debate over whether or not the United States should continue to give familyplanning aid around the world to any organization that had anything however remotely to do with abortion. Itwas voted down. There was a coalition among people who believe the United States should not be engaged inthe world, as well as those who are against abortion. There was a deafening silence from the Americanbusiness community. I saw no press conferences. I saw no ads in newspapers. I saw no signed jointstatements saying "we know what faces the United States around the world and we understand how importantit is for America to lead and be engaged and we therefore raise our voices on behalf of American support forthe United Nations, IMF and other multilateral institutions."

So I think the President has outlined a very clear agenda for where we go in the future. But it is not just thePresident's agenda. It has to be adopted and promoted by any who believe all or part of it in order for it tocome to pass.

SCHWAB: In the same context, the fast-track trade legislation is very much at the top of the priorities of yourhusbands administration. What can you say also to the business community here to give the active andeffective support for this legislative measure?

CLINTON: Well, I would probably just echo what I already said, at the risk of being repetitive. There was avery effective business effort in the United States on behalf of NAFTA. There was a very limited andineffective effort on behalf of fast track. I don't know all the reasons for that. Some of them suggested, but Ihave no basis for any first-hand knowledge or any analysis that I find convincing. The bottom line is, however,that no one in Congress felt any particular pressure, or demand, by any business interest about giving thePresident the authority that other presidents have had to negotiate trade agreements.

Now again, I have to conclude that either American business doesn't care about opening markets around theworld -- but I find that very hard to believe -- or they feel that their involvement in politics is something thatthey wish to minimize or steer clear of and don't want to become participants in any effort to pass suchlegislation, or some other reason that I have yet to understand. But the effect was the same. For whateverreason, the fact that the American business community made a very limited effort on behalf of the fast track,left the field completely clear to the rather unusual alliance between the right of the Republican party which isisolationist, anti-American engagement, quite critical and not supportive of the United Nations, IMF or anymultilateral group, and the left of the Democratic party that believes that trade authority, and trade agreementsare not in the interests of American workers. So that alliance carried the day. Now when the President comesback to the Congress with a request for fast track authority I hope that American business voices will beheard.

Having said that, I would add that there does need to be sensitivity to worker and environmental concerns intrade agreements going forward in the future. Certainly if they are going to be agreements that are negotiatedwith the United States government and require the consent of the United States Congress. So I think that theremay be some good reason for business to engage early with labor and with political leadership in Congressand the Administration to try to hammer out a consensus about the kind of fast track authority and the sort ofagreements that we want our President to be negotiating. But certainly that will not happen in the absence ofsome very stated and obvious business concern.

SCHWAB: I have here a question from the floor. What do you think about the impact of American culture onthe civil societies of the rest of the world, especially with regard to language, publicity, media, and the right ofdifference for all cultures of the world?

CLINTON: Well, I think that is a very important question. If I may, let me just start by talking aboutsomething which I think I know a little bit more about which I think is the impact of American culture onAmerica, and then expanding that beyond our borders.

American culture is America's biggest export. We export our fashions, our music, our movies. We export ourtechnology, which comes, as you know, with a bias towards English. That is our biggest export, if one weretry to add up all of our GDP that could be attributed directly or indirectly to culture. And on the whole I thinkit has been a positive development for my own country, that we have the kind of culture and culturalinstitutions and the messages that are conveyed from them.

I remember so well during the tumult of the years of the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic or the fall ofthe Berlin Wall, hearing story after story about how influential and important American culture was behind theIron Curtain in giving people a sense of freedom and human potential and the idea that there was a biggerWorld out there. So I think on balance, American culture and its effects have been positive both in my countryand elsewhere.

Having said that, I have long worried and continue to worry and am becoming more worried, not only aboutthe messages of American culture, but the medium in which they are delivered. Let me explain. There is nodoubt that we are creating a consumer-driven culture that promotes values and ethics that undermine bothcapitalism and democracy. In fact, I think you could argue that the kind of work ethic, postponement ofgratification, and other attributes that are historically associated with capitalism, are being undermined byconsumer capitalism. And I think you could also argue that the same relentless pressure for instant,simultaneous judgment and for people judging themselves based on their consumer materialistic attributes, isalso turning people away from being citizens into being consumers. I think these are two very troubling trends.

In my own country, because we have a very broad understanding of our first ammendment, because we aredominated by commercial television, we have a relentless, unstopping, message of consumer, materialisticpleasure, combined with instant gratification that surely affects our children if not our adults. We combine thatwith the kind of programming that is popular on American television and we are beginning now to haveresearch which demonstrates that the level of violence that our children see desensitizes them, affects how theyview the world, decreases their empathy, makes them more apathetic, less likely to assess their lives in termsother than the purely materialistic. Exporting that cannot be good for any culture. And I hope that there will beways for individual societies to cherry pick, perhaps, and try to take what is best about American culture, butmitigate against the effects of the undermining, damaging aspects of it as well. That too, is part of the role ofthe civil society. To mitigate against the excesses of both the market and the government. And it will becritically important for schools, for families, for religious organizations, for associations like scouting, forexample, to try to help balance the messages of the materialistic culture. And I think it is one of the biggestchallenges we will face in the next century, because certainly there is no stopping the information explosion.There is no turning back the clock on what will be delivered through televisions and computers into the homesof people throughout our world, but we are going to have to think very hard about our responsiblity asbusiness leaders, political leaders, parents and others in our socities, about how to mitigate against theexcesses of that culture.

SCHWAB: Mrs. Clinton, I have three questions which seem to be very appropriate to conclude our sesssion.

The first question is the following. If you had three concrete wishes to be shared here with the businesscommunity, actually which you want to be seen executed by the business community, what would be thosewishes. In really concrete form, what would you wish the audience to do over the next year or going awayfrom Davos.

CLINTON: That is an impossible question, and I will do my best to answer it. I think that I would hope thatgoing away from Davos, the leaders who have gathered here, both from business and government, will takeseriously the challenges that many have issued from this and other stages to look for ways to try to make surethat our markets function effectively and we do what we can through individual businesses, nation states andglobally, to ensure that that comes to pass, whether it is being part of providing technical assistance togovernments and businesses that need to learn how to be transparent, how to be able to operate in a regulatedenvironment to their benefit, and there is much work that can be and I hope is done and I hope businessleaders will urge government leaders through entities like the G-8 and the IMF and others, to try to movetowards some kind of consensus about how we need to address these issues that the market has presented uswith.

Similarly I hope that governments will be encouraged to be as transparent, as reform-minded as possible,wherever necessary, and that business leaders will support government reform in doing so, and that we willhave the kind of functioning partnership that is so necessary for the next century, between business andgovernment throughout the world, and that we will do away with the false debate and the false choice that toooften dominates our debate in America, where there is an unnecessary and I believe false antagonism createdbetween business and government. They need each other, they need to support each other for the kind oflong-term stability that both require to function well.

And finally I hope that business and government leaders will do more to support the civil society. In your owncountries, and throughout the world, wherever it is possible. There are many good ideas and programs thatare working. I wish everyone of you could have been with me at a village in Bangladesh, or at a women'sbank in India, or at a lending project in Africa, or in a very poor neighborhood in South America, to hear whata difference a little bit of credit makes in the lives of the poor. We now have a proven track record frominstitutions such as the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, that the poor, if given credit to buy another milk cow ora goat, or hire a rickshaw to go into business, are the best credit risks in the world. Most commercial banksparticularly in today's environment, would die for a repayment rate of 96 to 98 percent, and that is what thepoorest of the poor in these countries and in these programs have proven themselves capable of doing, atmarket interest rates.

Secondly, invest in opportunities for women around the world. If you look at any developing society that ismaking progress, there is a correlation between those societies that invest in women and those that aredemonstration economic and political development and stability. In many instances women are still left out orshut out. We cannot go into this new century with half the world's population not empowered to act in theirown best interests and in the best interests of their families. And that is what you will get when you invest inwomen. The investment will be very well taken care of, based on all we know, because it will in turn beinvested in the community and in the family, and particularly in the children.

Thirdly, do not think of education, health care, and other issues as tangential or marginal. In many respectsthey will determine the long-term stability of the countries in which you do business, in the quality of theworkforce that you employ, in the capacity of the consumers to whom you wish to sell your goods. It is in allof our interests to be more effective in investing in education and health care throughout the world, andwherever there is a particular pocket of poverty in an advanced economy, to take what we have learnedabout welfare reform and other strategies, and attack them through empowerment zones or tax credits orbreaks for investment that can begin to provide opportunity in even the most destitute of communities.

And finally, I guess I would ask that we all be more thoughtful in looking at the world in which we live. Thatwe work very hard to rid ourselves of preconceptions and assumptions and stereotypes. That we shelve ourideologies, whether it is of a conservative or a liberal bent. That we realize that conditions have changed, andwith it must change also how we see the world, and how we interact politically, economically and socially. Sonot to rest on old conventions, but instead to be questioning them as well.

We have a great opportunity, as all of you know or you would not be here, to be, as Professor Schwab hastitled it, trustees for the 21st Century. But we can only fulfill that responsibility if we understand that we aredoing it not for ourselves but for generations to come. And so those, in a very general way, would be my threewishes.

SCHWAB: That was the best answer and the best end of such a highlight of our annual meeting.Nevertheless, nevertheless, I would take on one other question which came from the audience, and it says,don't you think it is time at the beginning of the next century for the U.S. to elect and support a strong, brilliant,woman for the job of the President?

CLINTON: Yes, and I look forward to voting for her!

President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House
White House for Kids | White House History
White House Tours | Help | Text Only

Privacy Statement

February 1998

Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum