Highlights from the World Economic Forum
By: N. Andropoulos, Xiro Xone News January 24, 2017 Updated: 1:14 PM
Political and business leaders, humanitarians and philanthropist, gathered for four days January 17-20 in beautiful Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum (WEF), to discuss an array of issues that affect the global economy.
As the world bids a fond goodbye to U.S. President Barack Obama’s term in office, the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland was all a buzz with speculation of how incoming President Donald J. Trump, will help or hurt, the global agenda.
Billionaire entrepreneur of the Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, believe Americas problems are not caused by globalization. He said, “its not that other countries are stealing American jobs, it’s the fact that America, did not distribute the money properly. He clarified that by saying, “Rather than using the wealth to help all Americans, it was squandered.” The Alibaba Group e-commerce is the largest retailer in the world, recently surpassing Wal-Mart.
Surprisingly, China has emerged as an avid supporter of economic globalization. Perhaps that explains the reason President Xi Jinping is the first President of China to attend the summit, and had the largest delegation there.
Economist, Nouriel Roubini, who was a senior adviser to former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the audience, ““We are moving into a world in which you have many great powers,” and “These great powers either work together, or there will be increasing frictions and conflicts on trade and currency, on economics and finance.”
The economic future for the European Union will depend on trade policy. The election of Donald Trump is striking fear in countries that were depending on trade, like the TPP. Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam are the 11 countries that signed on to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). They knew the agreement was in danger when Trump was elected, as of today, they know it will not move forward because, President Trump kept another campaign promise by signing an executive order to, cancel TPP.
Unlike TPP, which was never voted on by congress. The 1994 North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., is also in imminent danger by President Trump. He intends to pull out or renegotiate the deal, but that, would require congressional approval.
Curbing fears of the impact President Trump may have on Globalization was, Anthony Scaramucci, who heads the White House Office for Public Liaison. “I see him very differently than maybe you guys see him, but I think over the next four years, you’re going to start seeing him more the way I see him," says Scaramucci.
Several attendees in one session was concerned if, a populist movement inspired by the election of the new U.S. President would, “be a return to the 1930s, with a rise in selfish national interests at the extent of the broader good.” However, most people agreed that, globalization should be protected. Some attendees were asked, “Are we happy to live in a world where just eight men control the same wealth as half of humanity?”
In a session on inequality, Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund said, “I raised the alarm four years ago in Davos, but nobody listened.”
There were several people who blamed the rise of populist candidates, the Brexit vote, and the Trump election on a refugee crisis that was created by the U.S., UK, and other leaders who consistently engage in regime change and arming rebels, leading to job loss, destruction of homes, schools, and infrastructure, causing refugees to flee to bordering nations and beyond. Their arrival strains the economy of those nations who, cut back funding and services to its citizenry.
Academy award winner and humanitarian Forest Whitaker, a UNESCO special envoy, was in attendance to discuss his commitment to peace-building and conflict resolution in Mexico, Africa and the United States.
Whitaker is the founder of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, an organization that supports and encourages young people in becoming peace-builders in their communities. He is also the co-founder and chair of the International Institute for Peace. He is the embodiment of someone who is using his celebrity to affect positive change, something encouraged by outgoing President Obama, who was a community organizer after graduating law school. When Whitaker was asked if Obama failed, he responded by saying, "Obama didn’t fail," he told an audience at the World Economic Forum. “He changed the psyche of the nation and in some ways the world. To act like we haven’t had great progress isn’t true.” The audience agreed overwhelmingly.