From January 23 – 26 of 2018 in the middle of heavy snow the Annual general meeting of the World Economic Forum was held in Davos, Switzerland. This year’s theme being “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World,” and more than 1000 sessions were held in each field. In the rise of protectionism in Britain and the United States where the leaders of the G7 excluding Japan stepped up and withdrew from the EU, European leaders called one after another to deepen international cooperation and momentum for globalization.

B: So what is the Davos meeting in the first place? A: The Davos conference is an annual meeting held in January every year by the World Economic Forum (WEF), a nonprofit foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland. At the meeting ideas are exchanged on a wide range of topics including the global economy and environmental issues.

B: What is the World Economic Forum? A: It is a forum based on the European executive symposium where Mr. Klaus Schwab, a professor at the University of Geneva from Germany, invited 444 executives from companies in Western Europe back in 1971.

A: Schwab established the European Management Forum as a non-profit organization headquartered in Geneva. The leaders of European countries gather for the annual meeting held from January to February.

A: The European Management Forum changed its name to the World Economic Forum in 1987 and the vision expanded as leaders such as businessmen, politicians and academics discussed and tackled the improvement of the world situation. B: Originally it was limited to the issues facing Europe.

A: At the Davos Conference, in addition to CEOs of 1,000 companies, elected politicians, academics, social activists, media representatives, religious leaders and others are gathered together. In 1988, on the verge of war, Greece and Turkey were able to avoid conflict by adopting the "Davos Declaration."

A: At the 1992 Annual Meeting, Former President of the Republic of South Africa Frederik Willem Declark met with current President Nelson Mandela and Mangosuthu Buthelezi kata, President of the Inkatha Freedom Party. This was the first time for these leaders to meet in a country other than South Africa.

A: At the 1994 annual meeting, Israeli Foreign Minister Simon Perez and Jacques Arafat, President of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) came to an agreement on both the Gaza and Jericho districts.

B: A global risk report is announced each year before the meeting. A: The number one risk listed this year was abnormal weather for the second consecutive year, and the second place being natural disasters (third place last year). The highest risks 1st Abnormal weather 2nd Natural Disasters 3rd Cyber ​​attacks 4th Data fraud / Data theft 5th Failure to mitigate climate change / adaptation

A: The theme this time, a Fractured World, shows the disparity from those left out of growth arising from internationalization and innovation. "Inclusive" and "Sustainable" were keywords.

B: Did they discuss virtual currency as well? A: From the serious risk of money laundering and hacking, the members calling for regulation exceeded those opposed. While Mark Zuckerberg approved of block chaining technology, he stating that bitcoins are not stable and announced that they will ban virtual currency ads on Facebook.

B: You can not leave out AI or robotics right? A: It is not an exaggeration to say that this was the hottest topic discussed at this event. It was stated that to further assist humans, machines must be enhanced to perform difficult “soft skills” such as creativity, empathy, and dexterity to perform complicated tasks.

A: As a modern version of the "Seven Sisters" used to describe the seven major oil companies, a discussion regarding the “Seven Sisters” of technology: Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Alibaba, and Tencent was held.

A: The seven sisters monopolized on data, violated privacy, and was regarded as a harmful monopoly company that produces Fake News. Mr. Mark Benioff of Salesforce argued for regulations in these areas.

A: Concerning trade friction and conflict concerns about the impact of the US protectionist trade policy expanding globally. Narendra Modi, Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau and others in turn asserted the merits of globalization.

B: President Trump claimed that "US first principle does not represent isolationism". I was surprised to hear his consideration in returning to the Pacific Rim Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) on the premise of a resolution to the trade imbalance.

A: Trump called on each country to go further, saying that it is necessary to apply maximum pressure to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

B: It was impressive that women occupied all co-chairs this year. Whether it be at awards ceremonies or in sessions, it was result from the # MeToo movement, characterised by the women who wore black clothing.

 

 

Conclusion

Until 2010, economic and financial risks were dealt with accordingly, but in recent years there has been growing concern about environmental and cultural risks supported by the booming economy. This year 90% of global leaders also show that political / trade collision occurs, and 80% say that the possibility of war has increased.
Meanwhile, executives of financial institutions suggested that stock markets in the highest price zone in history are not in a sustainable state also supported by bullish judgment by investors. It is said that we are experiencing signs close to that of a bubble before a financial crisis occurs. The Central Bank has increased their focus and their concern that problems will occur in the stock market if shifts occur before they are expected.

 

In addition, new technologies such as virtual currency, AI, and robotics were discussed vigorously. Google’s Sundar Pichai said that AI might be more important than electricity and firepower. He also emphasized the need to minimize risk.
The speech of President Trump, taking a protectionist policy before the opening was of note. As a result, President Trump emphasized the United States first principle but commented the potential damage that exclusionism would bring as well as a possible return to the TPP.

 

While the Davos Conference promotes globalism and free trade, people who can adapt to the changes in these fields such as finance, IT, and technology, will become increasingly successful and the gap will spread. The theme of “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World,” shows the division of the world that encompasses the cultural aspect that global residents become more cosmopolitan and the people of the local world become isolated. Although it was this Davos meeting that sounded the warning bell, this discussion was held at a place where elites of each country gathered. There are now questions and doubts to what extent of a crisis this may actually be.