Politicians and business leaders gathering in the Swiss Alps this week face an increasingly divided world, with the poor falling further behind the super-rich and political fissures in the United States, Europe and the Middle East running deeper than at any time in decades. Grace Pascoe reports.
(Reuters) – At minus 17 degrees Celsius – it’s a frosty start to this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.
And the business and political leaders meeting here may be received with a cold shoulder.
That’s as Oxfam announces that the richest 62 people own the same as half of the world’s population.
James Bevan is from CCLA.
CCLA, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, JAMES BEVAN:
“It is appropriate to have a more balanced society. Absent that one might reasonably anticipate that in the years to come there will be increasing political dislike of the true exceptional elite at the top of the food chain and there will likely be punitive taxation.”
Various global political crises will top the agenda at Davos.
They include refugees, a potential Brexit and rising interest rates.
Climate change too will be a hot topic.
Klaus Schwab is founder and executive chairman of the Forum.
KLAUS SCHWAB, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM:
“This is a meeting to look at the interconnection of all the global troublespots, if I may say so. If you look at what’s happening now in the financial markets that this is also a consequence of the fast movements of “fintech” – technologies which changed the whole financial world.”
Most Davos participants are VIP’s in their own right.
And the very, very important people attending this year include U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden, and the leaders of Israel, Britain and Canada.
But they may not be as popular as actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kevin Spacey.