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WEF's report shows socioeconomic worries

01-12-2012 14:27 BJT

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The gains of globalization could be reversed by economic shocks and social turmoil according to a new report. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2012 report also points to a shift of concern away from environmental issues to socio-economic worries. The report aims to highlight risks to the global economy ahead of the World Economic Forum meeting at Davos at the end of the month.

These men say they know the greatest risks the world and its economy will face in 2012 and beyond.

Right at the top of that list - social inequality and the potential of it causing widespread unrest in several countries.

John Drzik, CEO of Oliver Wyman Group said: "Well it could range from quite quiet protests and at the other end you could have riots in the streets."

The report highlights the gap in incomes between rich and poor as a cause of resentment worldwide.

And it warns of bulging populations of young people with low prospects and older people dependent on welfare and benefits.

These may largely be the problems of developed countries for now - but developing countries are warned to plan in advance.

Drzik said: "It’ll be a problem they face, they’ll face further down the road but it’s better for them to anticipate it now. If you look at the picture of China today, in terms of working population relative to retired, is not unlike developed nations were 50 years ago. "

The report makes it clear the world remains vulnerable to economic shocks in 2012.

And it also outlines benefits and dangers of connected global communications for the world’s population, claiming 2011’s UK riots demonstrate connectivity can be used to facilitate criminality.

And cybercrime and the threat of major cyber attacks must be guarded against, say the panel.

Steve Wilson, Chief risk officer in Zurich said: "There’s in theory now nothing to stop a terrorist organization from developing a very sophisticated device that could target for example a nuclear power station, that could cause a major power outage across a large city, which could have absolutely devastating and terrible consequences."

But perhaps as interesting as what features prominently in the report, is what doesn’t.

Reporter: In 2011 this report focused strongly on environmental concerns. This year the hundreds of experts and industry leaders surveyed dropped environmental issues down the list in favor of things like social inequality and unrest. Demonstrating how quickly the world is changing and how difficult predicting global risks has become.”



Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: CNTV.CN

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