DAVOS 2012

Framing the Global EconomyThe top business pictures of 2011

Ordinarily, business news isn’t much to look at. A behemoth hedge fund implodes, sucking billions into the ether, but even the Oliver Stone version of that scene would feature colorless quants in starched white shirts, pacing the trading floor or nervously staring at screens. Last year, the money shot was different. Many images of the big financial stories of 2011 are horrifying. Amid Greece’s spiraling crisis, a middle-aged man set himself ablaze after his bank refused to renegotiate his home and business loans. On the northeastern coast of Japan, a 33-foot-high tsunami—a Mothra from Mother Nature—unleashed its fury on the world’s thirdlargest economy, disrupting the global industrial supply chain.

In Libya, Arab Spring met petrodollars, as rebels put a bullet in the forehead of the tyrant who’d been sitting on the world’s eighth-biggest oil reserves. The blood and oil flowed. As if the eurozone crisis, popular uprisings across the Middle East, and Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots weren’t enough, business also had its R-rated moments. A spot quiz on a park bench in any major city might show that most civilians don’t know what IMF stands for, but they sure know who DSK is. The following portfolio, culled by Reuters’ Alexia Singh and Russell Boyce, shows a world in turmoil, and with each image reminds us that—for good or bad—we live in extraordinary economic times.