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The Great Reconstruction

New technological advances are not just upending traditional economic and political arrangements, but also altering what it is to be a member of society. The changes now underway will fuel further serious disruptions unless they are managed cooperatively and proactively at the global level.

GENEVA – If the “Great Disruption” of 2018 is to be overcome, the world will need a new framework for global cooperation. After World War II, the international community came together to design a set of institutional structures that facilitated collaboration in pursuit of a shared future. Now, it must do so again.

This time, however, the challenge is not just geopolitical and economic. We are experiencing a fundamental change in how individuals and societies relate to each other. And by understanding this change, we can positively influence its outcome.

The first thing to recognize is that we are living through the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in which businesses, economies, societies, and politics are being fundamentally transformed. Since first conceptualizing the idea for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in 2016, I have been clear: tinkering with our existing processes and institutions simply will not do. Instead, we need to redesign them so that we can capitalize on the abundance of new opportunities that await us, while avoiding the kind of disruptions that we are witnessing today. If we wait or rely on quick fixes to repair the deficiencies of outdated systems, the forces of change will naturally bypass these systems and develop their own momentum and rules.

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