Under-Employed, Under-Inclusive and Under Threat: the World in 2017

The World Economic Forum has released the Global Risks Report 2017, which has been developed with expert contributions from leading financial and academic institutions.

The Report has highlighted the potential of persistent, long-term trends such as inequality and deepening social and political polarization to exacerbate risks associated with, for example, the weakness of the economic recovery and the speed of technological change.

These trends came into sharp focus during 2016, with rising political discontent and disaffection evident in countries across the world. The highest-profile signs of disruption may have come in Western countries – with the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union and President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election – but across the globe there is evidence of a growing backlash against elements of the domestic and international status quo.

This year’s findings are testament to the key challenges that the world now faces.

  • Trends such as rising income inequality and societal polarization triggered political change in 2016 and could exacerbate global risks in 2017 if urgent action is not taken, according to the Global Risks Report 2017
  • Key drivers of risks can be arrested or reversed through building more inclusive societies, for which international cooperation and long-term thinking will be vital
  • Climate change ranks alongside income inequality and societal polarization as a top trend for 2017, with all five

Read the full report here

Now in its 12th edition, The Global Risks Report 2017 features perspectives from nearly 750 experts on the perceived impact and likelihood of 30 prevalent global risks as well as 13 underlying trends that could amplify them or alter the interconnections between them over a 10-year timeframe.

“We live in disruptive times where technological progress also creates challenges. Without proper governance and re-skilling of workers, technology will eliminate jobs faster than it creates them. Governments can no longer provide historical levels of social protection and an anti-establishment narrative has gained traction, with new political leaders blaming globalisation for society’s challenges, creating a vicious cycle in which lower economic growth will only amplify inequality. Cooperation is essential to avoid the further deterioration of government finances and the exacerbation of social unrest,” said Cecilia Reyes, Chief Risk Officer of Zurich Insurance Group.