Three years of UBS Evidence Lab surveys reveal that Chinese parents across...
2020-01-21 21 ENGLISH REPORTS
The world cannot wait for the fog of geopolitical and geo-economic uncertainty to lift. Opting to ride out the current period in the hope that the global system will “snap back” runs the risk of missing crucial windows to address pressing challenges. On key issues such as the economy, the environment, technology and public health, stakeholders must fnd ways to act quickly and with purpose within an unsettled global landscape. This is the context in which the World Economic Forum publishes the 15th edition of the Global Risks Report. An unsettled world Powerful economic, demographic and technological forces are shaping a new balance of power. The result is an unsettled geopolitical landscape—one in which states are increasingly viewing opportunities and challenges through unilateral lenses. What were once givens regarding alliance structures and multilateral systems no longer hold as states question the value of long-standing frameworks, adopt more nationalist postures in pursuit of individual agendas and weigh the potential geopolitical consequences of economic decoupling.
Beyond the risk of confict, if stakeholders concentrate on immediate geostrategic advantage and fail to reimagine or adapt mechanisms for coordination during this unsettled period, opportunities for action on key priorities may slip away. Risks to economic stability and social cohesion Recent editions of the Global Risks Report warned of downward pressure on the global economy from macroeconomic fragilities and fnancial inequality. These pressures continued to intensify in 2019, increasing the risk of economic stagnation. Low trade barriers, fscal prudence and strong global investment—once seen as fundamentals for economic growth—are fraying as leaders advance nationalist policies. The margins for monetary and fscal stimuli are also narrower than before the 2008–2009 fnancial crisis, creating uncertainty about how well countercyclical policies will work. A challenging economic climate may persist this year: according to the Global Risks Perception Survey, members of the multistakeholder community see “economic confrontations” and “domestic political polarization” as the top risks in 2020. Amid this darkening economic outlook, citizens’ discontent has hardened with systems that have failed to promote advancement. Disapproval of how governments are addressing profound economic and social issues has sparked protests throughout the world, potentially weakening the ability of governments to take decisive action should a downturn occur. Without economic and social stability, countries could lack the fnancial resources, fscal margin, political capital or social support needed to confront key global risks.
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