Somber mood in Davos
Europe, inequality, oil are top concerns
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.