World Economic Forum 2017: discussing the global risks

The snowy Davos awaits the WEF 2017
By Alex Burden, Student Blog

16 January 2017

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) fears for the fate of the global economy for 2017 – and have signalled that the Brexit Leave vote and Donald Trump’s election were symptoms of widening divisions in society, driven by rising income inequality. 

WEF will be meeting in Davos for their annual meeting this week (17-20 January), and presiding over several events designed to examine wealth disparity and the increase of populist politics.

Around 700 experts fed into their annual global risks report, and identified five top trends that are most likely to determine future global developments. 

Five trends for 2017

  1. Rising income and wealth disparity
  2. Changing climate
  3. Increasing polarization of societies
  4. Rising cyber dependency
  5. Ageing population

The issues are thought to be key catalysts in how the world might be shaped over the next decade, with a firm nod towards the unrest and turmoil that currently pervades many countries and communities, whether that be through war, climate change, divided communities or isolation.

The report comments that "consensus expectations were defied by the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union, by President-elect Donald Trump's victory in the United States and by the Italian electorate's rejection of Matteo Renzi's constitutional reforms":

It’s these ‘unexpected events’, such as the Brexit vote, which are likely to serve as ‘inflection points’ and encourage mutability or a worsening of situations on a wider scale; but the WEF are careful to clarify that this may well lead to improvements in equal measure.

The implications of results such as these are potentially far-reaching – some people question whether the West has reached a tipping point and might now embark on a period of deglobalization.  - World Economic Forum

The WEF held a press conference to discuss the report in a livestream:

Who’s going?

  • There’s likely to be a queue to hear Nobel winner and economist Joseph Stiglitz, who is participating in four panels on economics, corruption, the break-up of Europe and current affairs.
  • Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund Managing Director will join three panels on gender roles, the ‘middle class’ and global economic outlooks.
  • Matt Damon, actor and activist, will be discussing global water solutions and access
  • Benoît Coeuré, executive board member of the European Central Bank will be delivering policy decisions alongside other key banks.
  • Alibaba founder and e-commerce champion, Jack Ma, will discuss the future of online trade and globalisation.
  • Bill Gates will speak on the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) as part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella will discuss artificial intelligence and how this is likely to impact the world.

Topics

  • CA Student blog

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