DAVOS – As the world enters 2013, talk of participation in a “global community” is running high. But we continue to see signs – and, more important, behavior – that run counter to such claims.
There are many reasons for this, but chief among them is the velocity, interconnectivity, and complexity of global, national, and even individual change. Unprecedented shifts and growing imbalances – between consumption and production, savings and investment, economy and ecology, social inclusion and marginalization, and equality and disparity – persist and incubate within a complex global system in which there is no “risk-off” switch.
For more than 40 years, world leaders have gathered annually in Davos to discuss and advance the most critical issues on the global agenda. This year, the list of problems to be discussed is a long one that includes the unresolved debt problems in the United States and Europe, the troubling global economic outlook, the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, and the bulge in youth unemployment.
Clearly, the need for global cooperation has never been greater, and governments, business, or civil society cannot meet our challenges alone. Surveying these issues, it seems that the world remains in crisis mode, with many expressing little hope that the situation – particularly the economy – will improve. But we forget how much the state of the world has improved.