This year there is a weird imbalance here between thinkers and doers.

Usually you can count on a healthy tension between the dreamy thinkers (for these purposes, anyone who writes or talks for a living, such as economists, journalists and most politicians) and the pragmatic doers (in Davos, business people).

The former come up with wild theories and grand plans. The latter say it will never work in practice.

But now, not least in Davos, it is the eggheads who are fretting and the men in Brioni suits who are looking on the bright side.

In the dinners and the discussions, the journalists and economists and politicians raise all the questions about inequality between winners and losers, deplore the absence of political leadership and compare this age of globalisation gloomily with the one that collapsed with the first world war.

The business people reply, by and large: “Come off it”.

It is not that they are being complacent, the business people say. Far from it. They are realists. They see things from the ground up. They see progress in each shampoo bottle bought in eastern Europe, in improvements to Africa’s health care, in the broadening of choice everywhere.

You see this in the United States, too, where the financial markets are much happier than the pundits. I think — and, even more, I hope — that the business people are right here.

UPDATE: Related item here: “When you pick up a newspaper, turn on the television or radio news you would think by the drumbeat that things are awful: Iraq, Iran, Afgan, Global Warming, America’s loss of status, on and on it goes. Meanwhile the markets day after day vote on the overwhelming economic resiliency and strength and breadth of the economy.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Over at The Speculist, some thoughts on why the world seems to be getting better even as the news keeps seeming worse: part one, and part two.