Somber mood in Davos

Europe, in­equal­ity, oil are top con­cerns

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Jamey Keaten and Masha MacPher­son

davos, switzer­land» As world lead­ers in pol­i­tics and busi­ness ar­rived Tues­day in droves for the start of the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in the Swiss ski re­sort of Davos, the event’s founder was somber.

Klaus Sch­wab, the 77year-old chief of the world’s most rec­og­nized an­nual eco­nomic meet­ing, said he’s wor­ried about Europe’s fu­ture, the fall­out from plung­ing oil prices and gap­ing in­equal­i­ties world­wide.

In an in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press, Sch­wab also jus­ti­fied the de­ci­sion of the WEF to dis­in­vite a del­e­ga­tion from North Korea, in­clud­ing its for­eign min­is­ter, for its claim this month that it had tested a hy­dro­gen bomb. The WEF has been work­ing hard to bring the North Kore­ans to the 45-year-old an­nual gath­er­ing at the high­est level since the 1980s.

“We had to show sol­i­dar­ity with the global world opin­ion,” Sch­wab said late Mon­day. “We never cede to any pres­sure, but we have one prin­ci­ple, which means that we ob­serve U.N. sanc­tions.”

With the world fac­ing myr­iad prob­lems such as cli­mate change and war, Sch­wab said he wanted a “for­ward-look­ing” theme to dom­i­nate dis­cus­sions this year, which of­fi­cially runs from Wed­nes­day through to Satur­day. He has built this edi­tion around the idea of the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion.

He said vast, speedy tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances in the dig­i­tal age in ar­eas like nan­otech­nol­ogy and au­to­ma­tion threaten to leave many un­skilled work­ers with­out jobs or at an eco­nomic dis­ad­van­tage.

In Davos, about twothirds of the 2,500-plus at­ten­dees are de­ci­sion-mak­ers from the busi­ness world. The board­room, not the shop room floor, has an out­size rep­re­sen­ta­tion in this snow-capped, ul­tra-chic Alpine re­sort.

World lead­ers, in­clud­ing U.S. Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, Prime Min­is­ters David Cameron of Bri­tain and Nawaz Sharif of Pak­istan, and Ger­man Pres­i­dent Joachim Gauck are set to at­tend.

Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den speaks dur­ing a panel called “Can­cer Moon­shot” dur­ing the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Davos, Switzer­land, on Tues­day.

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