World Economic Forum warns of grave risks to global economy
Despite a strong performance from many of the world’s economies, with growth picking up and unemployment falling, the World Economic Forum issued a stark warning on Wednesday that this recovering global economy is also facing unprecedented risks, many of which governments and businesses often chronically ill-prepared to tackle.
The release of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2018 precedes its annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland on 23 January. The report, based around the findings of a survey of 1,000 economists and business leaders, found almost 59% believe the world faces mounting risks, with just 7% of respondents relaxed in their outlook for the coming year.
“A widening economic recovery presents us with an opportunity that we cannot afford to squander – to tackle the fractures that we have allowed to weaken the world’s institutions, societies and environment,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. “We must take seriously the risk of a global systems breakdown. Together we have the resources and the new scientific and technological knowledge to prevent this.”
The report identifies extreme weather events and natural disasters and cyber attacks as the greatest threats to economic progress. The aggregate damage from cyber attacks, estimated at $3 trillion in 2017, already outstrips the damage to economies and societies from natural disasters and climate change. These risks, the report argues, are compounded by a dangerous complacency that forms on the back of strengthening economic growth.