World Economic Forum 2015: “The New Global Context”

By: | January 24th, 2015

“One Stop Shop” For World Leaders & Policy Makers

The World Economic Forum 2015 Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland started this year on Monday, January 21st and continues to Saturday, January 24, 2015.

The world’s political and economic elite fly into the area on 1,700 private jets and land at Duberndorf Military Base and Zurich, St. Gallen-Altenrhein, and Engadin airports.

This year’s Program is 105 pages long, and there are four main themes:

I. Crisis & Cooperation

Emerging economies are growing more powerful and assertive, regionally and globally. Rather than a repeat of uni- or bipolar hegemony, a concert of independent and stronger region seems to be the most likely global scenario for the decades ahead. How can a world of “decentered globalism” deliver the necessary levels of cooperation in areas such as climate governance, cyber security and international trade and investment?

II. Growth & Stability

Economic growth after the financial crisis has mainly been the result of expansionary monetary policy. While this prevented economies from falling apart, the chances of addiction and misapplication are high, including excessive risk-taking, the build-up of asset bubbles, as well as capital outflows that inflate assets and potentially destabilize economies abroad. How can post-crisis economies become more dynamic, inclusive and resilient?

III. Innovation & Industry

Technological, demographic and economic forces are profoundly transforming industries and markets in areas such as healthcare, financial services, energy, manufacturing, and retail. At the same time, concerns over low productivity growth are increasing, and large companies face criticism for maximizing short-term gain at the expense of long-term wealth creation and social benefit. From the sharing economy to the Internet of things, how can businesses disrupt rather than be disrupted?

IV. Society & Security

Social instability occurs when political systems fail to adjust to change. Growing economic inequalities and deepening polarization indicate this is a major risk. Advanced and emerging economies alike need new ways of responding to shifting demands without risking social cohesion. Faced with uncertainty, how can societies avoid the vicious cycle of distrust, polarization, and unrest?

Following are some of the 280 sessions held this year:

  • Walk for Education: Some children in rural areas around the world, for example, Africa, must walk 6 km every day to attend school. If children had bicycles, it would reduce their travel time by 75% improving attendance and learning outcomes.
  • Extreme Robotics: Robotics legend “William “Red” Whittaker reveals how robotics is revolutionizing humanity’s ability to explore and master its environment.
  • From Problem to Progress: What gaps must be closed to make this the century of gender equality? How can we foster opportunities for women entrepreneurs, close the tech gender gap and revise policies to strengthen diversity?
  • The New Digital Context: How are our regulatory, behavioral and technological changes transforming the digital landscape?
  • Revolutionizing the Food Supply: Exploring solutions for sustainable food with creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs.
  • The New China Context: How are our new economic, environmental and governance priorities shaping China’s future? A look at restructuring industries for sustainability and the impact of the rule of law on governance.
  • The New Energy Context: How are technological, economic and geopolitical changes shaping the future energy landscape?
  • The Global Security Context: What is the global security context 25 years after the Cold War?
  • What is Ethical Leadership?: How can we manage tough choices to lead ethically in a complex world?
  • The New Growth Context: How are depressed commodity prices, unconventional monetary policy and persistent youth unemployment reshaping the global economy?
  • Weak Signals from the Future: What current developments should be reconsidered as emerging trends that will shape global risks beyond 2015?
  • How Did We Get Here? Big History 101: Through a compelling visual narrative, historian David Christian highlights what leaders can learn from “Big History” to prepare for the future.

For more insight into Davos 2015, see the full program. For reports from WEF, visit Scenarios.

The event is being attended by some of the world’s most influential business people and politicians:

Following is the interactive guide to the full sessions with videos:

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References and related content:

Michael Cooney

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