As 1, 500 business leaders and 40 heads of state congregate in Davos, Switzerland for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (Jan 21-24) there are certain to be prognostications. Many of these predictions in the past, such as Nouriel Roubini’s conviction that Greece would leave the Euro by 2013 or Bill Gate’s conviction that spam would be eliminated, have failed to pan out, but some intuitive guesses have been correct, such as the global increase in oil production. However, who would have predicted that oil prices would drop to nearly half their value, the rise of ISIS, the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the ebola outbreak?
Will all of the disruption currently in the world, it seems the representatives at Davos will likely discuss pressing issues that are faced worldwide in the present tense, rather than making extravagant predictions, as reported by Ventures. Falling oil prices are good for the consumer, but OPEC’s intransigence and refusal to cut production continues to hurt economies that rely on oil. Instability and extremism is a a theme that played loudly in 2014 with ISIS and is continuing with terrorist attacks in Europe and in Nigeria. Extremism tends to chase away investment, and the problem has serious economic implications. Sanctions against Russia and the tumbling ruble is certain to be a topic that will be addressed, as well as global climate change, and how businesses can address environmental issues.
With the Sony hacking disaster and other cyber security threats that cost companies and governments millions of dollars, it is likely solutions will be proposed at Davos on how to prevent cyber attacks. Oxfam has found recently that only 1% of the world’s population owns half the wealth, and a strategy for combating global economic inequality is likely to be proposed.