The increasing global inequality gap is the most important global trend facing the world in the next ten years, ahead of other urgent global problems such as climate change, polarization, cyber dependency, and ageing populations. At least so says the World Economic Forum (WEF) in its Global Risk Report 2017.
According to Global Risk Report 2017 the incomes of the top 1 per cent in the US between 2009 and 2012 grew by more than 31 per cent compared with less than 0.5 per cent for the remaining 99 per cent of the population.
Of the other issues high on the agenda and requiring urgent action, the Global Risk Report 2017 highlights five key risk areas: economic growth and reform, rebuilding community, managing technological disruptions, strengthening global cooperation and accelerating on climate change.
Managing technological disruptions is one the grave concerns affecting people’s livelihood. The report says the effects of technology on our world are responsible for 86 per cent of manufacturing job losses in the US between 1997 and 2007 compared to less than 14 per cent due to trade.
With almost half of all jobs at risk due to rapid technological change, the nature of work itself is being transformed. ‘We need new collaborative systems to minimise the risks of dramatic social disruption and increasing disparity. While innovation has historically created new kinds of jobs as well as destroying old kinds, this process may be slowing’, the report notes.
In a chapter focusing on the risks associated with artificial intelligence (AI) Global Risk Report 2017 assess the risks associated with how technology is reshaping physical infrastructure. In particular how greater interdependence among different infrastructure networks is increasing the scope for systemic failures – whether from cyberattacks, software glitches, natural disasters or other causes – to cascade across networks and affect society in unanticipated ways.
As for climate change Global Risk Report 2017 says the world needs to work together to keep global warming to within two degrees Celsius (35F). To do this, the report suggests emissions must be reduced by 40 to 70 per cent by 2050 and eliminated altogether by 2100.
The Global Risk Report 2017 report was produced in collaboration with Marsh & McLennan companies, a global professional services firm based in New York, and Zurich Insurance Group, the world’s third largest insurance company, and was supervised by the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Feature video uploaded to Youtube by World Economic Forum
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