Global Risk Report 2017

AFTER A YEAR OF POLITICAL UPHEAVAL, WHERE TO NOW?

Each January, the World Economic Forum releases the Global Risks Report in conjunction with Mercer’s parent company, Marsh & McLennan Companies, and select global partners. The report analyses the most significant global risks for the coming decade, capturing expert views that frame the agenda for the Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Marsh & McLennan Companies has been a key contributor to the report since its inception.

As a follow-up to Mercer’s highly successful breakfast client series, we have summarised below the findings of the Global Risks Report 2017. You can also download the report and visit the website for full detail on all the topics discussed at Davos.

A road map for the post-2016 world

The extraordinary political results of 2016 reflected a growing global dissatisfaction with the status quo. Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, and other dramatic events in Turkey, Brazil and the Philippines could mark the beginning of an era of “deglobalisation”. The report identifies five key challenges to address this widespread dissatisfaction and its attendant risks:

1) Fostering greater solidarity and long-term thinking in market capitalism

2) Revitalising global economic growth 
These challenges are economic, and reflect the most significant trend influencing global developments over the next decade: growing disparity in income and wealth. The rising success of anti-establishment politics and the backlash against globalisation is due in part to the sluggish economic recovery post-global financial crisis, but also relates to deep social fissures driven by anger towards “the 1%”.

3) Recognising the importance of identity and inclusiveness in healthy political communities
This challenge is a societal, and acknowledges the importance of identity and community. The rise of right-wing parties, such as Trump’s GOP in the US, UKIP in the UK and One Nation in Australia, has accompanied a surge in support for national sovereignty and “traditional values”, leading to disturbing cultural fractures that could exacerbate other risks.

4) Mitigating the risks and exploiting the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution
This challenge addresses the risks of rapid technological change in the jobs market. The current pace of innovation may be eliminating more jobs than it is creating.

5) Strengthening systems of global cooperation
The final challenge relates to safeguarding and strengthening systems of global cooperation. A number of countries — Trump’s US chief among them — have floated intentions to withdraw from international treaties and organisations. But events such as the civil war in Syria and extreme climate-related events and their resultant refugee crises highlight the importance of global cooperation in maintaining the global risk landscape.

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