As the World Economic Forum scrambles to accommodate the additional security measures necessitated by president Donald Trump’s decision to break with presidential tradition and attend Davos this year, the organization has released what’s become an annual tradition: Its report of what it believes are the top global risks for 2018.
The most prominent theme is the shift in perceived risk factors: conflict and war, natural disasters, extreme weather and cyberattacks have supplanted social polarization and the rise of populism as the biggest global risk for 2018.
As the report summarizes, last year’s Global Risks Report was published at a time of heightened global uncertainty and rising popular discontent with the existing political and economic order. The report called for “fundamental reforms to market capitalism” and a rebuilding of solidarity within and between countries.
The survey of nearly 1,000 experts from government, business, academia and non-governmental organizations showed 93% expect a worsening of political or economic confrontations between major powers in 2018, including 40% who believe those risks have increased significantly.
One year on, the WEF authors notes that the urgency of facing up to these challenges has, if anything, intensified. Economic growth is picking up, but 2017 was a year of widespread uncertainty, instability and fragility—and the latest results of the Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS) suggest respondents are pessimistic about the year ahead: in a new question gauging expectations for 2018, only 7% of responses point to a reduction of risk, compared with 59% pointing to an increase.
The report highlights four concerns: (1) persistent inequality and unfairness, (2) domestic and international political tensions, (3) environmental dangers and (4) cyber vulnerabilities.
The visual summary of the global risk landscape is shown below:
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