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Davos and populist fervour: Key points of World Economic Forum 2017

Author : Andreas Beker Oleksandra Elkina

13:33, 18 January 2017
Davos and populist fervour: Key points of World Economic Forum 2017

Author : Andreas Beker Oleksandra Elkina

One of the main issues of World Economic Forum would be inauguration of Donuld Trump

13:33, 18 January 2017

Read the original text at dw.com.

Open source

Klaus Schwab is not guilty, as well as World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, founded in 1971. They cannot be blamed in the fact of growing the gap between rich and poor in many countries and the growing fear of globalization. And it is not their fault that the anti-globalization protest movement is increasingly gaining momentum, they are not to be blamed in Trump’s victory and Brexit.

At least, the quote of the Swiss professor and longtime head of the WEF Klaus Schwab, said at a press conference on the occasion of the 47th Economic Forum in Davos, should be perceived in such a way. He read a text written over 20 years ago, which warned about the threat of populism growth and noted that the process of globalization should benefit the majority, not just small elite.

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These challenges remain relevant to this day, Schwab said. "Any attempt to find a simple solution to the complex problems of global scale are doomed to failure. We should not rely only on populist decisions," said the organizer of the event.

The meeting of world elite

According to Klaus Schwab, the purpose of the meeting in Davos, which runs from 17 to 20 January, is precisely to resist populism. Each year, the ski resort gathers people with the most diverse experiences and points of view: politicians, businessmen and public figures.

Yet in the first place, the international economic forum is a meeting of representatives of the world elite and the global establishment. Political power here meets the financial elites. And it is on this very platform, they have been claiming for years that the growth pace of globalization and increasing cross-border trade, as well as the removal of barriers to international investors will give benefits to the entire population of the planet.

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Recently, however, the old truths are not immutable. It is the citizens of Western democracies have become increasingly wonder whether globalization and concomitant global competition have brought more trouble than benefits. It has played its role at Brexit and in the US presidential election.

In turn, Schwab called for mutual solidarity and equal distribution of resources: "In terms of the market economy someone always wins and someone loses," he said. However, this system is viable only on condition that there is solidarity between the two groups, believes the head of the WEF.

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More than 3,000 participants

This year's forum was held under the slogan "A responsive and responsible leadership" - an allusion to the growing alienation of the political elite of the society, as well as the loss of public confidence in government institutions.

Among the key issues to be discussed by the participants of the event - to promote economic growth, reform the capitalist system in order to prevent further division of society, the loss of confidence in the government and government institutions, as well as the impact of digital technology on the level of employment and the welfare of the population as a whole.

It is expected that the forum will be attended by more than 3,000 leading politicians, businesspersons, and scientists: it will be an absolute record. All the key international organizations and investment funds to be presented there. Among the guests of the event is the new UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, head of the US transnational investment company BlackRock, Larry Fink, and founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates Group.

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Without Merkel, Putin, and Trump ...

At the same time, the Davos Forum for the second year in a row will be held without the participation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel: official cause of its failure was her busy schedule. Instead, Germany will be represented by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and Defense Minister Ursula von der Lyayen. French President Francois Hollande and the new prime minister of Italy Paolo Gentiloni also stay home.

Administration Donald Trump also misses the meeting in Davos: January 20, in the last day of the forum, the US will inaugurate the newly elected US President. Only financier Anthony Scaramouche arrived in Switzerland, whom Trump intends to appoint an adviser on the interaction between the US administration and business.

However, despite the absence of a reply Offline Trump, his figure would be one of the key here. Should we expect the US economic isolation? Would Washington refuse to conclude a free trade agreement and exit from the so-called Paris Agreement on the climate? What will be the Trump’s policy toward China? All these questions, no doubt, will be performed in Davos, however, they are likely to remain unanswered.

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In addition, president of Russia would not participate in the forum. Vladimir Putin came to the event only once, in 2009. The Russian delegation was instead headed by the First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.

In turn, the UK prime minister Theresa May is going to attend the event. Chinese President Xi Jinping also came to the Swiss resort. On the first day of the forum, he made a speech in which he urged to adapt to the globalization of the world economy. This is the first Chinese leader's visit to Davos since 2003.

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According to the founder of the Forum Klaus Schwab, the presence of Xi Jinping is important, especially when you consider the slogan of the event "responsive and responsible leadership." "With regard to the economic impact, in this indicator, China will overtake the United States soon," Schwab said. Therefore, he hopes that in case of dealing with global problems, China would just take on the role of responsive and responsible leadership, concludes the founder of the forum.

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