The Forum will place a central emphasis on the need for policies that place people’s well-being at the centre, moving from diagnosis and analysis of increasing levels of inequality to actionable solutions.
This will be key to winning back the confidence of those who feel treated unfairly, fearful of the impact of globalisation, increasing migration flows, and the unprecedented speed of technological development.
The Forum will focus on some of the trends that are deepening societal divides, and increasing polarisation in our societies, due to declining incomes and access to opportunity among social groups, countries and regions, and will highlight how international co-operation and digitalisation can contribute to bridging these divides.
Big Data, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet-of-Things are reshaping our economies and societies, completely revolutionising the way we work, learn, and live.
Digitalisation holds many promises to spur innovation, boost more inclusive and sustainable growth and enhance overall well-being.
At the same time, digitalisation is disruptive, changing familiar structures and expectations of the economy, society and even politics, raising questions about new business models, about how and when regulators should intervene, and new policy challenges with regard to privacy, security, trust, consumer policy, competition, innovation, jobs and skills.
Too many people feel removed from progress and do not believe the overall system is working for them.
This distrust can partly be explained by a significant decline in economic and social status due to the financial crisis, but there is also a general sense that government policies and business strategies favour a concentration of wealth among rich and powerful people, as well as rich and powerful regions.
A survey conducted by McKinsey Global Institute in July 2016 (Poorer than Their Parents? A New Perspective in Income Inequality) found that a significant number of those whose incomes have not been advancing are losing faith in the global economic system, and expressed negative opinions about free trade and immigration.