Tallahassee Journal

Davos arrives as world on verge of nervous breakdown

Davos arrives as world on verge of nervous breakdown

Do-gooding captains of industry and government will travel up a Swiss mountain this week for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos with one hefty task on their minds: how to make the world a better place. Dozens of heads of state and 2,500 business leaders, along with cultural emissaries and experts from across the entire field of human endeavor, will pile into the Alpine ski town — population 11,142 — for five days of intense workshops, speeches and fast-and-furious networking starting Tuesday night.635548719813190143-AP-Economy-GDP

“This event is an extraordinary opportunity and keeps its validity because it’s able to attract so many interesting people from the world of business and government and other communities for a relatively informal and open conversation,” said Ian Goldin, a Davos veteran, and the director of the Oxford Martin School, a research institute attached to Oxford University. This year there is no shortage of global wounds that require bandaging, if not tourniquets, at the 45th Davos meeting. As delegates get ready to assemble high up in the Swiss Alps, the world appears on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Economic growth in China has stalled. Cybersecurity looks increasingly perilous. A global Ebola crisis claimed more than 8,400 lives. Russia’s proxies in Ukraine may sow fresh volatility. And with 2014 the hottest year on record, there is of course climate change.

But Davos is more than a well-heeled, high-altitude setting to recount all that’s wrong with the world. Klaus Schwab, the German-born founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said this year’s theme — the not-atypically vague “New Global Context” — is partly about creating the conditions to restore confidence and trust in the world’s future.