UK, January 24, 2018.- This week is traditionally from the World Economic Forum in Davos. A meeting attended by the presidents of nations, business leaders, technology entrepreneurs, etc. A large group of experts who debate about today and tomorrow of this planet. Is the Davos Forum influential in the economic decisions of the countries? The answer is complex, but the average political prestige recently published its particular response, direct and without blush:
“Attendees ostensibly trek (some via helicopter) to the town to discuss thorny global problems and solutions to them. The spectrum ranges from inequality to cybercrime. The trouble is it’s hard to find examples of how the forum, which began modestly in 1971, lives up to its motto of “improving the state of the world.” Given the combined brainpower gathered in the Swiss town and the meeting’s high profile, one might expect the forum to do a better job anticipating disasters like the the financial crisis of 2008, the euro crisis or even Brexit, all of which they missed. By the time an issue is discussed at Davos, it’s already been chewed over at other conferences and the prescribed remedies have entered the conventional wisdom. “Davos Man can be either a capitalist oppressor or a Commie conspirator,” the New Yorker wrote in its classic takedown several years ago. “Either way, he is a windbag, a pedant and a hypocrite.” These, and other failings, have ignited a fit of soul-searching among some of Davos’ biggest boosters. Bloomberg, the purveyor of financial data, wrote this week that “the concern for delegates attending this year’s meeting isn’t that their forecasts are often wrong, but that their worldview is.”If Davos groupies were that introspective, they’d have likely realized how disconnected they were from the real world years ago. Truth is, visiting Davos has long been little more than a guilty pleasure for many participants.The typical Davos Man — the vast majority of attendees, despite efforts toward diversity, are white men — is out to have a good time”.
But if you access the Davos documents this year and read this conclusion perhaps the works can be more profound:
As the challenges facing economies around the globe are varied, agendas to improve competitiveness need to be defined locally. Public-private collaboration must, however, also explore regional factors: multinational corporations can engage with several jurisdictions, while regional organizations, such as trade blocs, are able to coordinate countries. The Global Competitiveness Index can help to guide and structure these long-term dialogues, leading to actionable agendas—not only at the national level, but also subnationally and regionally.
At the same time, it must be recognized that all sessions held at the World Economic Forum in Davos can be seen live, streaming over the Internet, and it is interesting to see debates between leaders who do not usually sit together in public. That is, the selection of speakers is correct, the moderators are correct, but what is said there, I do not know if it is finally influential for my life and for his life. The footprint of this Forum in documents, analyzes and studies is numerous. For example, the following lines make up the Preface to a Competitiveness Report. Its author ensures interesting conclusions:
Richard Samans, Head of Global Agenda, Member of the Managing Board
The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018 comes out at a time when the global economy has started to show signs of recovery and yet policymakers and business leaders are concerned about the prospects for future economic growth. Governments, businesses, and individuals are experiencing high levels of uncertainty as technology and geopolitical forces reshape the economic and political order that has underpinned international relations and economic policy for the past 25 years. At the same time, the perception that current economic approaches do not serve people and societies well enough is gaining ground, prompting calls for new models of human-centric economic progress.
In many advanced economies the value of economic growth for society has come into question as a result of increasing inequality, the challenges of technological change, and the complex impacts of globalization— including those related to trade in goods, services, and data, and to the movement of people and capital. In emerging economies, record decreases in poverty and a growing middle class have fueled higher aspirations and demands for better public goods; these demands are now clashing with slower growth and tightening government budgets.
The goal of human-centric economic progress is the increase in sustainable and equitable welfare for a country’s population. And while economic growth, as measured by GDP, is not an end in itself, it remains a precondition for enhancing human welfare. It provides the resources necessary for improving health, education, and security. It is therefore important for countries to monitor closely the factors that determine competitiveness, while keeping an eye on the wider societal goals and related trade-offs.
Ensuring future economic growth will require solutions that are more creative than any we have seen so far.
The World Economic Forum, the international organization for public-private collaboration, seeks to provide guidance, inform future-oriented solutions, and shed light on trade-offs that policymakers will face going forward. This flagship report, presenting the results of the Global Competitiveness Index, offers impartial information that allows leaders from the public and private sectors to better understand the main drivers of growth. This year it includes rankings and detailed data profiles for close to 140 countries and comparable time series.
Richard Samans: “We invite policymakers, business leaders, civil society leaders, academics, and the public at large to consult the performance of their countries in the Global Competitiveness Index and, together, identify the main challenges and barriers to growth facing their economies. We invite all stakeholders to look beyond rankings and to analyze the evolution of each indicator and each concept covered, identifying areas of improvement and areas where economies are lagging. Benchmarking and monitoring can support public- private collaboration toward identifying priorities, thereby allowing for the design and implementation of more forward-looking policies that balance market, state, and community to make economies more competitive, productive, and prosperous”.
My conclusion is that the big meetings with political and business leaders, the great regional or world summits, are important and can point to trucks of solutions for complex problems. However, the big conclusions need to be built in each country, in each company and in each household. To conclude, I invite you to watch the following video from the PwC Consultant who presented his annual vision about the role of CEOs in Davos: