World Economic Forum (WEF) is a routine anniversary celebration of global capitalism held annually at Davos. The conference brings together top business officials, international political leaders, economists, celebrities and journalists for up to four days to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world.
WEFs have always been the focus of the globe for its discussions. However, this time, the summit was noted for the absence of prominent leaders. Due to the historic government shutdown in US, their representatives did not show up in Davos. Without Chinese president Xi Jinping, Russian president Vladimir Putin, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, British prime minister Teresa May, French president Emmanuel Macron and other important figures, the 49th summit which hosted 65 country heads and more than three thousand representatives lacked a headline act. Reckless attitude of the major leaders has become an obstacle to form solutions to overcome the global crisis and has dumped the summit into a total failure. Since years after the success of globalisation, it is for the first time the WEF is being so insignificant.
The summit witnessed the direct and indirect confessions that neo-liberal policies have led to global climate change and economic, political and social turmoil of many nations. The indefinite trade war is proving that the world has started to pay the price for Trump's arrogance and foolishness.
Christine Lagarde, CEO of International Monitory Fund, said that the trade war between US and China, and uncertainties in geopolitics have dumped the global economy into a deep crisis and its growth rate is downward. She emphasized that growth of global economy will not be more than 3.5% in 2019 and 3.6% in 2020. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is skeptic as he says that the contribution of Europe will come down to 15% in the near future. Poland Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki hit out at major players of Europe vehemently. He pointed out to the discord between eastern and western Europe and said that the northern and southern countries are having troubles in cooperation. Refugee crisis has divided Europe. If trust is not regained, chances for resurgence of the continent will be hard, Morawiecki added.
The European leaders' speeches are more than enough for us to realise that the WEF 2018 theme- Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World- was an absolute failure.
From Trump to Modi, their absence at the summit was due to turmoil that happened due to their own actions. Given the circumstances, the theme of this summit -Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution- is also destined to fail miserably.
If the academic studies and solutions presented in Davos were developed into a lively debate, it would have resulted in meaningful changes. However, no nations acknowledged the studies as solution for the issues. It is for this reason that the summit could not reach consensus on reducing carbon emission even after people across the globe have faced the disasters of the climate change alike.
In the discussion regarding reducing the use of fossil fuels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany wanted more time for that. Hence, the conflict between the academic discussions and commercial interests were obvious in Davos. The academic world gave stress to the idea that mankind cannot overcome the complexity without human beings themselves becoming problem solvers from problem makers. However, the political leaders’ attitudes shows that they still believe in drawing resources out of political turmoil.
All the discussions were shadowed by the anxiety that Trump's stubbornness and Europe's political division will drag the world into more crises. It was neither accidental nor a good augury that it was Brazil’s new face of the right wing, President Jair Bolsonaro was the most applauded speaker at the event.