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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

British Business Secretary Sparks Debate on Perils of Capitalism; Spain's Prime Minister: Debt Crisis Over

Aired September 22, 2010 - 14:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MAX FOSTER, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Comrade Cable, the British business secretary sparks a heated debate on the perils of capitalism.

No more debt crisis, says Spain's prime minister, but strikes across Europe tell a separate story.

And the race for hidden treasure: Why the economic heat is on in the Arctic.

I'm Max Foster in for Richard Quest. This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Hello to you.

We are moving beyond the debate on cuts versus spending, it seems, to a modern-day crisis of capitalism. Tonight, the U.K. business secretary tells me parts of the capitalist system are actually failing. We'll ask if it is time to give up on that free market dream.

And reviving capitalism in a country that threw it out decades ago; that is, Cuba.

And later in the show an investment with returns, the new way of seeing international aide by the president of the World Bank.

Now it sounded like a rallying cry against capitalism and it came from a government minister in charge of business here in Britain. Vince Cable was speaking to grassroots members of his own moderate Liberal Democrat Party. He said he made no apology for attacking what he calls the "spivs (ph) and the gamblers" who harm the British economy, by which he meant the bankers. Well, some of them at least.

He continued, "the government's agenda is not one of laissez-faire, markets are often irrational," he said, "or rigged. So I am shining a harsh light onto the murky world of corporate behavior."

"Capitalism takes no prisoners and it kills competition when it can," he said. And when I spoke to him, after the speech, Vince Cable told me, things have to change.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VINCE CABLE, BUSINESS SECRETARY, GREAT BRITAIN: There are parts of the system, the capitalist system if you like, which failed, notably the banking system. There is a need for fundamental reform. That is why the chancellor of the exchequer and I, in the U.K., set up this banking commission to look at the whole issue of bank structure, banks that are too big to fail, banks in the U.K. case that had balance sheets bigger than the richest economy. That is one central issue.

Another issue is the incentive structure. We have the bonus system which encouraged people to take excessive risks, to be greedy. And that has to be reformed, too. And now we are struggling with this problem, we- the private sector recovery is beginning to happen. But it is very difficult for small and medium size companies to get credit from the banking system. And that, again, requires action.

FOSTER: You say you want to work within the capitalist system. You are not anti-capitalist, but a quote from your speech today was, "The government's agenda is not one of laissez-faire. But that means you not one of open market economy?

CABLE: No, it is-I believe in a market economy, but it is not a question of just standing back and letting it happen. The government has a role. Of course, the central role is providing financial stability and there is also deregulation, getting bits of government out of the way, and free trade. That is a very important part of it.

But the government also has a major role to play in my field, as business secretary, in supporting training, for example, and showing that we have adequate manpower, assuming that there is support for science innovation and research and development. The government has a very important role.

FOSTER: And when you talk about perhaps the moral behavior of some of the bankers, in particular, you've been talking about the murky world of corporate behavior. I think you called bankers spivs (ph) today. It is quite personal. Is it all bankers?

CABLE: Not all the bankers. So-well, some of them are. Some of them were. Many bankers are perfectly honorable. Many of them run their banks very well. You know, if you look at the big global banks, some of them were prudently run. Some of the mortgage lenders were prudently run. Some of them were the opposite.

And although this is a couple of years ago, the fact is our economy is now-is still dominated by the damage that has been done by that episode. And people are not going to forget that. And we need to draw the necessary lessons from it.

FOSTER: How do you clamp down on one part of the banking system without tarring the whole banking system, the whole economic system, effectively, with the same brush? Because you are saying the system doesn't work. It is a fundamental problem, isn't it? You are not just talking about bonuses?

CABLE: Well, again, I'm not just expressing a personal view, as I said, during my speech. You know I agree with Mervyn. The governor of the central bank, who made it very clear in his speech two weeks ago, and indeed, repeatedly warns that we still have a basic structural problem in the banking system. Banks that are too big to fail and they are dangerous because if they go down, as they did two years ago, in several cases, then it is the British taxpayer who underwrites them. And we're talking about enormous underwriting here. So, it may be that there are people in the banking community would like to just pretend that all of this never happened. Or thinks it is all behind them. But the issues are still there. And this government is responsible and we're taking responsibility. We are trying to sort these problems out.

FOSTER: The concern is, and some of the criticism since the speech is that you are not actually offering an alternative, though. All you are doing is bashing away at the system. You are not offering a clear alternative to something better.

CABLE: Well, we are offering alternatives. The chancellor of the exchequer and I set up a banking commission to explore the various alternatives in relation to structure, in competition, also.

FOSTER: But you are not anti-capitalist?

CABLE: Absolutely not. Indeed if you heard my speech today you would have not asked that question. I mean, it is very clear that we are part of a capitalist system, we are part of free enterprise. I said over and over again, I want private enterprise to succeed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Well the director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom is part of the Heritage Foundation, a U.S. think tank, that is regarded as being on the right. We're going to speak to Nile Gardiner from there right now. He joins me from Washington.

Nile, I know you took an interest in this speech because it seems that politicians are grappling somewhat in how to respond to capitalism, post financial crisis. How did you interpret what you heard from Vince Cable there?

NILE GARDINER, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Well, I thought it was an appalling speech by Vince Cable. Mr. Cable is the business secretary of the United Kingdom. He is not the representative of some failing state like Venezuela, for example. And I would expect the business secretary to be representing British interests on the world stage. Instead, he's driving away foreign investment. He is basically doing in his own investment bankers. He's launching some-I think, some scandalous remarks against the banking community in the United Kingdom. After all, the City of London is the world's biggest financial center. And what you don't need is your own business secretary launching attacks upon your own business.

It was an extremely bizarre speech. Probably the most left-wing speech by a British cabinet minister, certainly, since the 1970s. And quite frankly a real embarrassment for the coalition.

FOSTER: Certainly some business leaders in the U.K. agreeing with that. And some frustration that he is meant to be representing them and he's actually working against them. He says he is representing his humors (ph), as well. But what do you make of the broader philosophical argument here? The way he says he's not anti-capitalist, but the government isn't laissez-faire, what does that actually mean? I thought it was the same thing? I was taught that at college, at least.

GARDINER: Well, I thought he made some very confusing statements in his interview with you earlier. And it is very clear that Vince Cable has extremely anti-capitalist views. That he is not a believer in free markets. He is against laissez-faire. The success of the United Kingdom in this century, and over the past several centuries, has rested upon a firm belief in the laissez-faire capitalist system. That is why Britain is one of the most successful economies in the world.

And for the business secretary to be launching an attack upon the virtues of the free market, I think it is highly destructive. This sends completely the wrong signal at a time when the U.K. is trying to lead itself and Europe outside of the deepest recession in many decades. And I do think it sends an extremely negative message across the world. And I would do hope the prime minister and the chancellor will respond very aggressively, rejecting Mr. Cable's remarks.

FOSTER: OK, Nile Gardiner, thank you very much indeed for joining us from Washington.

GARDINER: Thank you.

FOSTER: Certainly within the coalition there are different views on this. Now, just as capitalism is called into question, it is back in fashion in one of the most likely places on the planet. And that is the Communist island of Cuba. It is all part of President Raoul Castro's radical plan to restructure the economy there.

Shasta Darlington reports (ph) the workers making their way in the brave new world of private enterprise.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A tall order in Communist Cuba, finding jobs for half a million laid off workers in the private sector. Here in Old Havana not everyone is celebrating this capitalist notion. Like it or not, employees in this barber shop around the corner are being pushed off the state payroll and handed the shop. They will be able to set prices and keep earnings. But they'll now have to pay taxes and rent. And there is no longer the guarantee of a fixed income.

"I've been working for the state for years now, and I'm not interested in going private," says Geraldo. "I want to keep working for the state."

Cuba plans to shed 10 percent of public sector jobs over the next six months, and allow more private enterprise to absorb the unemployed. A dramatic attempt by President Raoul Castro to reshape the sputtering economy.

He says the state simply can't afford a bloated and unproductive workforce. But don't expect American-style big business. Cuba's new entrepreneurs will be encouraged to start small operations, maybe driving taxis, laying bricks, or perhaps repairing toys.

(On camera): Now to get an idea of what is in store for them, we're talking to some of the people already working in the country's miniscule private sector.

(voice over): Emilio Mendoza was laid off during Cuba's last major economic crisis in the `90s. He bought a government license and set up a cobbler's shop in his driveway. He says Cubans should see this as an opportunity.

"I'm happier now than when I was a steel worker," he says. "I pay the state their money. I charge my fees and I don' t have to worry."

Esedro (ph), a taxi driver, says it depends on how much the state charges its new entrepreneurs in taxes and licensing fees.

"I don't recommend being a taxi driver, because the fees are very high," he says.

They all agree the days of getting paid by the government, whether you work or lounge about, are over.

Still the state controls about 90 percent of the economy. These modest proposals aren't likely to radically shift that balance. But they will give life to a new class of small businesses that could change the face of Cuba. Shasta Darlington, CNN, Havana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Well, when we return we'll be speaking to one half of the world's richest private foundations. Melinda Gates tells us what role she thinks rich people should play in the fight against global poverty and of disease.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: The debate on capitalism comes as global leaders are gathered in New York for the third and final of the U.N.'s anti-poverty summit. CNN caught up with Robert Zoellick, he is president of the World Bank, and asked him how his organization steps in when governments cut aide.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT ZOELLICK, PRESIDENT, WORLD BANK: Since the crisis began we have provided about $137 billion of supports for the poorest and the middle-income countries, also their private sector. And that is important because a lot of those emerging markets are then buying from developed markets so it helps their exports. So this can be a win-win possibility. The problem, of course, is in the discussions at the U.N. is the stress on aide budgets from all of the developed countries. It obviously gets harder and harder. But that means, on the other side, that institutions like the bank need to work with developing countries to show taxpayers that there are results.

(END VIDEO CLIP

FOSTER: Robert Zoellick, there.

Now, in June of this year, Bill and Melinda Gates persuaded many of America's super rich to sign up to the giving pledge. That is a commitment to donate at least half of their fortunes to charity. Poppy Harlow, CNNMoney.com caught up with Melinda Gates for a rare interview and asked her about who steps in when governments slash their aid budgets.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELINDA GATES, BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: Certainly private donations can't make up for the lack of governments, when they get cut substantially. Both, it is not just in country, it is when the donor countries cut their budgets as well.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Right.

GATES: So there is no way philanthropy can fill that in. So we have to sustain the commitment on both sides from the government and it is great to see some governments like the U.K. saying we are really going to stick to our commitments, the commitments we've made on aide.

HARLOW: Despite other cuts?

GATES: Despite very difficult cuts inside their country. I think it is because they realize that that aid is being incredibly effective. And that is one of the messages Bill and I want people to understand. From what we are seeing on the ground, the aide, the health aide is really working and it is making a difference and it is why we are going to make some of these lending development goals.

HARLOW: When you look at the giving pledge, with you, Bill, and Warren Buffet, really trying to invigorate billionaires around the world to give half or more, if they would like, of their money away. How is that going? Are you seeing more people come on board?

GATES: We are. No, we've had some really nice momentum here over the series of months that we've been doing it. And I think every conversation, which is great, leads to another conversation. And what I am so excited about, when you talked with couples about their giving, is it is not just giving their money. It is them getting drawn into a cause, and using their hearts and their minds. I mean, if they built a great business they are going to use the same business tools that they knew and the business brain to work on philanthropy. That can change things. And that is fantastic, too.

HARLOW: How do you want to see this pledge change the face of philanthropy?

GATES: I want it to become the expectation in the U.S.

HARLOW: The expectation?

GATES: Absolutely. If you are wealthy, you are to give it back to society. And as well, I even like talking to families who aren't as wealthy and talk about giving back your time and your energy. I see so many people that have so much they can give back. And a little bit is just channeling ways that people can then do that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Melinda Gates speaking to CNN.

Now, the wheel of change is turning painfully in Greece and it has brought highways to a standstill. The latest on a strike by truck drivers in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Now Europe has a new set of financial super watchdogs. Lawmakers have signed off on measures creating pan-European regulators for banking, securities, and insurance. And in Washington tonight, policy makers are working on bringing down barriers, trade barriers that is, in the global services summit. Leon Brittan is there. He was a trade and industry secretary during Margaret Thatcher's time in office here in the U.K. and he advises the current U.K. prime minister as well, on trade. He used to work in Brussels as well. Of course he joins me now from CNN Washington.

A broad range of experience, Lord Brittan. Thanks very much for joining us. Just bring us up to date about your discussion-

(CROSS TALK)

FOSTER: -in Washington. First of all, on trade, and is the current environment, political environment, working in your favor breaking down trade barriers?

LEON BRITTAN, TRADE ADVISOR TO U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is-the discussions are related, here, to traded services, which is part of a global negotiation on trade, generally. There is an attempt, of course, in the Doha trade round to reach a global agreement on reducing barriers. Here we are focusing on services. Under the circumstances, right, they differ in different countries. It is difficult in the United States where there is high levels of unemployment, to persuade people that breaking down trade barriers is a way to increasing jobs, rather than the reverse.

But the U.S. government wants to do that. But it can only do that, of course, if others are prepared to give sufficient liberalization for it to be worthwhile for the United States to engage. And the same applies, visa versa.

FOSTER: Yes, and you talk about a bit of resistance in the United States. Also, in Europe, we've got these strikes by public sector workers, for example. If people don't necessarily want to be trading, if I can simplify things, with other countries when they want to protect their economy, what is your message to people who are fighting free trade right now?

BRITTAN: Well, the message is very simple. It is that all the evidence, all the history, all the statistics show that if you remove trade barriers and increase trade, that is the best way to get growth and to get jobs. And that is absolutely clear and absolutely right.

(CROSS TALK)

FOSTER: It is certainly the long term-

BRITTAN: --a great trading nation.

FOSTER: Sorry, I was just saying that is certainly the long term pay off.

BRITTAN: Yes, it is.

FOSTER: But in the short term it might mean, for example, a factory closing locally and reopening in another country. And that is very hard to sell right now, isn't it? So the policymakers aren't necessarily-

BRITTAN: Well, of course, the answer is of course it depends on how you do it. It depends on the time scale. And most agreements to open up trade don't have an affect instantly. And they have an affect over a period of time, during which you get the benefits. So the thought that what we are talking about and we're talking about trading services, it is going to suddenly lead to huge numbers of foreign investors coming and taking over jobs from British people, it isn't a reality. It is not reality at all.

So, we've got to, of course, take account of the time scale. But if it were anything other than the very short term there is no doubt at all that opening up trade-particularly for a country like Britain, which is a great trading nation-gives us the opportunities for British industry to make goods, which we sell to countries where at the moment we can't get them in because there are trade barriers.

(CROSS TALK)

FOSTER: It doesn't necessarily help you though does it, though, at the moment when the British business secretary, for example, is in all of the headlines under the term "anti-capitalist" after his speech today and how we've been hearing from him earlier in the program. He says he's not anti-capitalist, but it seems to me the message from his speech is getting through from-through the media.

BRITTAN: Well, that is a different matter altogether. He says he's right to say, he says he's not anti-capitalism, everybody knows that we can only prosper if our industry is able to prosper. And it is able to prosper if it is able to export, and if it is able to export more if trade barriers are down, and are moved out. So, as a whole the British government is absolutely in favor of lowering trade barriers, which is what I am all about here in Washington.

FOSTER: Lord Brittan, thank you very much indeed for joining us with that.

Now, things might be difficult in Europe, but it seems we could be over the worst of it. That is according to the Spanish prime minister, at least. Jose Louis Rodriguez Zapatero says, Europe's sovereign debt crisis is actually over. He made the claim in an interview with "The Wall Street Journal". But for many people in Europe things are still far from normal. It doesn't feel like it is over to them. Some countries are still finding it far more expensive than others to borrow money. Ireland and Portugal have both just carried out successful bond sales, though. But they paid a massive premium to do so. And severe budget cuts are taking their toll on public morale in Greece. We are seeing angry protests after lawmakers approved a shake up of labor market rules. Striking truck drivers blocking traffic on Greece's two busiest highways. And there have been clashes with police outside of parliament.

Let's go now to journalist Elinda Labropoulou. She is joining us now from Greece with an update on everything that has been going on there.

Just explain to us, Elinda, what you have seen and how dramatic it has been actually.

ELINDA LABROPOULOU, GREEK JOURNALIST: Well, you know, this has been going on for a long time now. We've had the truckers mobilizations for the last 10 days. They have been blocking parts of the main highways (UNINTELLIGIBLE), especially in and out of the capital for part of the time. These mobilizations are against these reforms liberalizing (AUDIO GAP). The vote took place in parliament today. Obviously, the object to that. And we have some immediate affect after that. We had the truckers blocking the roads, kind of showing they have the power to do that, if you like, quite easily.

Of course, the legislation has passed. Their profession has been liberalized. It means more people can come into it. But they are still hoping that they will be able to get some compensation in terms of taxes, in terms of pensions. So they are saying that they are going to carry on with the mobilizations for at least two days and then think this over.

FOSTER: Elinda, thank you very much, indeed. A real sense of feeling there from Greece right now.

Now European stocks posted their biggest decline in almost a month. So they're pretty negative, too. That was after both the Fed and Bank of England signaled that they may need to administer more stimulus to get their respective economies moving fast again. Worries about sovereign debt added to the downturn, with the cost of ensuring Irish debt to be bounding to a record high. And spreads also rising for Spain and Portugal.

Let's have a look at how Wall Street is doing right now. Let's have a look at the Dow, it is down as well. It is all pretty negative, as you can see, down a quarter of 1 percent. More details on that a little later on.

Now, a freezing climate with red hot potential, as competition heats up to drill the Arctic's untapped energy supplies. Russia is called the key players to Moscow. We'll look at what they are hoping to get out of the International Arctic Forum.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Welcome back. I'm Max Foster. More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment, but first here are the main news headlines.

(NEWSBREAK)

* FOSTER: Now in Russia an international meeting to try to avert a new type of cold war in the Arctic; a rush for energy sources. The U.S. Geological Survey thinks there is a lot more oil and gas in the Arctic than previously thought. The USGS estimates the region may contain 30 percent of the world's undiscovered gas reserves and undiscovered gas reserves and 13 percent of its undiscovered oil.

Several countries are claiming the region as their own. And this Wednesday and Thursday they are meeting in Moscow to talk things over.

Now, the U.S., Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway are all seeking claims to this disputed area. The disputed Lomonosov Ridge is underwater. It is a mountain range. And that is where the key issue is, really, here. Countries have to prove to the United Nations that the ridge is an extension of their continental shelf to have rights to the resources underneath. And that would allow claims to territory beyond the normal 370 kilometer offshore limit. You can see the disputed area there, in the middle, and the various countries with claims, possibly to various parts of that all around it.

Now, delegates of the International Arctic Forum, wheel and deal some more tomorrow. And from Moscow, CNN's Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance takes a look now at what they might be hoping to achieve.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INT'L. CORRESPONDENT (On camera): Well, it is not everyday such a strategically important and valuable part of the planet comes up for grabs. And this International Arctic Forum is an opportunity for the various countries with interests in the region to discuss cooperation, and to assert their respective claims on the Arctic's vast riches.

There are an estimated-or there is an estimated one-quarter of the world's gas and oil believed to lie beneath the Arctic Ocean. And as the polar ice cap melts, due to global warming, it is becoming much, much more accessible. That is why several countries are now rushing to stake their claims.

Russia, Norway, Canada, the United States, Denmark, all hold sometimes competing claims on the territory in the Arctic. Moscow has been perhaps most aggressive. Three years ago a Russian expedition planted a Russian flag on the Arctic seabed in a symbolic gesture of ownership. It is also just announced it is spending $10s of millions on scientific research, aimed at proving that vast tracts of Arctic territory are geographically extensions of Russia. Canada and Denmark are also planning to submit their counter claims.

Again, the danger is that these dispute could, in the future, lead to something much more serious, even to military tensions, military conflicts. So all the countries involved, it seems at the moment, are trying to take opportunities like this Arctic Forum to hammer out their differences and to avoid confrontation in the future. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Well, as we mentioned earlier, Norway is one of the countries trying to extend its territory deeper into the Arctic region. And Hege Marie Norheim is a senior vice president at Norwegian oil company, Stat Oil. She is currently working on the company's Arctic project. So she joins us live now from Oslo.

Thank you so much for joining us. How excited are you about the possible reserves in the Arctic. I mean, do you see it as a greater opportunity?

HEGE MARIE NORHEIM, SR. V.P., STATOIL: Marie Absolutely. The Arctic resources for our industry are very important. And we are very excited about the opportunities in the Arctic. However, we have already been working for 30 years in the Arctic, on the Norwegian side, and also for a decade in Canada, and outside of Alaska. And Stateoil is at the moment working with the Russians to develop the gas fields also, in the Bearing Sea, on the Russian side. So, we already have some experience, but there is much more work to be done.

FOSTER: It is hard, though, isn't it, for you, in certain areas. Because you don't know, actually, which country is in charge and which country to deal with. So how much of a problem is that becoming, as technology improves and allows you to go into those areas?

NORHEIM: Well, actually, when it comes to disputed areas, we are of course, very happy and it is very important that there is, like the one now, resolved between Russia and Norway. It is actually being resolved. It is a huge area and the Norwegian industry is excited to be able to look into whether there is oil and gas in the area. The area is as big as the whole (AUDIO GAP) Norwegian side, which we have been working on for 40 years.

Having said that, disputed areas of the Arctic is not really a big issue for the industry. Because most of the areas in the Arctic is not disputed at all. It is very clear what is the Norwegian acreage, what is the Russian acreage, and the American and the Canadian, and the Greenland acreage. So the disputed area constitutes a very minor (AUDIO GAP) it is part of the acreage that we are looking into. It is really where the environmental and the Arctic that are a challenge, and why we moved up in the north.

FOSTER: So, briefly, you sense is that this is more really about politics than national boundaries, and about business and resources?

NORHEIM: Well, the international boundaries are obviously very important but to the industry the challenge is more, you know, the existence of ice, the darkness during the winter months, the remoteness and the lack of infrastructure (AUDIO GAP).

FOSTER: OK, we've lost you. It was going to happen at some point, wasn't it? Glad it happened towards the end of the interview, though. Hege Marie Norheim of Statoil, speaking to me live just a moment ago.

At least now, from Giovanni to Vivian Westwood, Erin O'Connor, walks the cat walk for every designer worth knowing. We follow the model and activist in her "World At Work". That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Well, today marks the final day of London Fashion Week. And CNN managed to catch up with one of Britain's top suit (ph) models before she jets off on her next assignment. It is hard to believe that Erin O'Connor was told to have cosmetic surgery in the early days of her career. Now she is said to be worth around $19 million.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERIN O'CONNOR, MODEL, ACTIVIST: So, I started my career at age 17. Just one (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as a fashion model. Left home, came to London.

I wasn't one of those young girls that aspired to be within the fashion industry, though, I loved art and textiles, and music at school. And I suppose I was all about expression, self-expression. That was me when I was happiest.

But on a school trip, some years ago, I was approached by a talent scout, Dion Rellis (ph), at the time I was unfortunately bent over a bargain bin. She says still, to this day, that she watched and observed for about a minute. And she hoped when I turned around that I had an appealing face.

I think with my look, is that it is incredibly enjoyed and it is not necessarily current. The tricks of the trade for me are not relying on your appearance at all. So, it is not how you are features happen to lie on your face, it is in fact projecting a thought process. So, whenever I'm on set it helps me a great deal to transform. That is a whole different me. That is the diva, me, and she has nothing to do with the person I am in real life. And in many ways the two should never collide.

So many people think it is about preening and posing, and I wouldn't deny them that. The meet (ph) is far more creative.

When you go to a catwalk show it can be an incredibly elaborate set, and the music has been tested, the lights are being tested. There might be props and accessories, like horses. But with all that in mind, we don't get rehearsals. So, unlike actors, it is freestyle. You literally, you are doing it ad hoc.

Whenever I am backstage, it could be a glorious fashion show. It could be something like Dior or Chanel. There is all sorts of mad things happening, like cello tape is being stuck to the bottom a model's foot. And I've seen many things when they are stomping on the catwalk, their shoes are coming off, and the tape is stuck to the shoe, and it is all a terrible palaver.

When you start to try to unravel what the magic is, there is often really nothing there. Because there is a lot to do with creating a space for fantasy.

Backstage at catwalk shows often there are no boundaries. You have film crews. You have photographers. And at the end of it all, you have models trying to change, wearing nothing but other people's eyes, and that I find threatening. And I also find it insulting. So, having worked in the industry for 15 years now, I'd like to think that we have time and space-and actually the right to feel that we are allowed certain boundaries.

I like the traveling part of my job. I am one of those willing nomads. And I have never felt that my job was been a sacrifice. I have always known what I wanted out of it. And I've worked really hard to get it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: You can see more of this fascinating story on next month's CNN "REVEALED". We'll have a half hour special about London Fashion Week, through the eyes of Erin O'Connor. That airs on the 20th of October, only here on CNN.

Now there is a tropical cyclone, meanwhile, forming in the Caribbean. Guillermo has been monitoring that for us.

(WEATHER REPORT)

FOSTER: Just enough time to tell you that Bob Geldof will be joining us tonight. Looking at the world he says all nations need to step up its Millennium Development goals. All need to be met by 2015. Go to CNN.com/connect to post your questions to him. Then watch 2100 in London, 2200 in Central European Time.

That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Max Foster in London. "MARKETPLACE AFRICA" starts right now.

END