World Economic Forum Forcasts Bleak Outlook for 2017

According to the World Economic Forum, economic inequality, societal polarization, and intensifying environmental dangers are the top three trends that will shape global developments over the next 10 years. It is the responsibility of governments all over to address these issues in a collaborative movement.

The eight richest men in the world own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. The gap between rich and poor is far greater than it ever has been. Big business and the super-rich are fuelling the inequality crisis by dodging taxes, driving down wages, and using their power to influence politics. It calls for a fundamental change in the way we manage our economies so that they work for all people, and not just a fortunate few.

Seven out of 10 people live in a country that has seen a rise in inequality in the last 30 years.  Between 1988 and 2011 the incomes of the poorest 10 percent increased by just $65 per person, while the incomes of the richest 1 percent grew by $11,800 per person. Women, who are often employed in low pay sectors, face high levels of discrimination in the workplace, and who take on a disproportionate amount of unpaid care work often find themselves at the bottom of the pile. According to current trends, it will take 170 years for women to be paid the same as men.

Societal polarization has been extremely prevalent here in the United States, especially in the wake of our recently Presidential election. Republicans and Democrats in Congress aren’t the only partisans who deeply distrust people from the other side of the aisle. Liberals and conservatives prefer to associate with and live near their fellow partisans. They would be unhappy if their children married someone with a different political viewpoint. The result isn’t just polarized politics, but a divided society where liberals and conservatives increasingly keep apart.

Extreme weather events, natural disasters, and man made environmental disasters are loom as major world wide risks. $520 billion are lost annually due to extreme natural disasters, leaving 26 million people in poverty conditions across the globe. Usually, the severity of a disaster is measured by damage done to buildings, infrastructure, and agriculture. However, it is important to stress that a loss of $1 billion is not the same when observed by the rich or the poor. A traditional approach to disaster risk is focused on the aggregate loss, which ignores the impact on the poor part of the population.

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