This week was a big week for economists and world leaders who congregated in the quaint swiss town of Davos to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF). While many flocked to listen to the elite speak about economic global outlook, major political concerns, new ideas and conversations that could have global impact in 2017, the key topic at the WEF this year was global growth.
Whether the world will slip into another global recession was a subject on everyone’s minds. Slowing growth in China, flatlining in Europe, plunging oil prices and political uprising are decimating emerging markets and failing to provide the boost to richer countries. In the U.S., where financial markets are hitting new highs, GDP growth this year is projected be less than 2%.
In 1987, economist Robert Solow stated what has come to be known as Solow’s Paradox. His question was “Why is the rate of productivity increase slowing dramatically in the Technology Age”. Technological advancements of the past half century have had a truly transformative effect but global productivity growth has all but stalled. With more new technologies – artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, genetics and biotechnology, poised to further product innovations, what needs to happen to drive productivity and global growth? The elite ensconced in the magic mountain in Davos this week will have discussed these questions and us, mere mortals, will have to wait patiently for an answer.
Future Wealth’s View
We take a dim view of a forum that is attended not by the 1 percenters, but by 1 percent of the 1 percenters with lack of representation from the mainstream 99.999% of the population. It is no surprise that, coming out the forum meetings last year, none of the attendees had any inkling of the uprising of populist movements across the globe, not to mention what was to come at major elections in UK and US. With a yawning trust gap between the world’s elite and everyone else – social unrest, populism and terrorism are likely the foremost on people’s minds but we won’t be holding our breath for an answer to come from the raging bars at Davos this week. That said, would you have rather be in attendance at Davos or at the Presidential inauguration in DC this week?