The World Economic Forum released its global assessment on Wednesday, and it paints a stark future if world institutions - including governments, private industry, academic institutions, and civil society organizations - don't make some radically practical changes.
From the report:
As the world grows increasingly complex and interdependent, the capacity to manage the systems that underpin our prosperity and safety is diminishing. The constellation of risks arising from emerging technologies, financial interdependence, resource depletion and climate change exposes the weak and brittle nature of existing safeguards – the policies, norms, regulations or institutions which serve as a protective system. Our safeguards may no longer be fit to manage vital resources and ensure orderly markets and public safety.
Long a bulwark of international capitalism and proponent of globalized trade, The World Economic Forum (WEF) is widely viewed as an elite institution out of touch with the needs of the world's poorest and most vulnerable. Despite its predictable prescriptions for societal reform, the report is certainly valuable in understanding how such an institution evaluates risk when it comes areas of economic instability, resource depletion, and democratic institutions. The report is put out every year prior to the WEF's annual retreat in Davos, Switzerland. Curiously this year, a video accompanying the report, highlights the enormous swell of populist outcry seen around the world in 2011:
And The Guardian reports:
In its annual assessment of the outlook for the global economy, the WEF set the scene for its meeting in Davos later this month by warning that the "seeds of dystopia" were being sown.
The growing number of young people with little chance of finding a job, an increasing number of elderly people dependent on states deeply in debt and the expanding gap between rich and poor were all fuelling resentment worldwide, the forum said in its Global Risks 2012 report on Wednesday.
"For the first time in generations, many people no longer believe that their children will grow up to enjoy a higher standard of living than theirs," said Lee Howell, the WEF managing director responsible for the report. "This new malaise is particularly acute in the industrialised countries that historically have been a source of great confidence and bold ideas."