Governance in spotlight at Davos
What will you be missing? Failures in global governance look set to be a key agenda item for movers and shakers at the Swiss mountain resort this year. What the World Economic Forum defines as “weak or inadequate global institutions, agreements or networks” is identified as one of two “cross-cutting global risks” in the latest edition of the forum’s Global Risks report . (The other is “economic disparity”, which we’ll come back to next week.)
The report’s findings, which were informed by a survey of “580 leaders and decision-makers around the world”, make for gloomy reading, as the BBC says. The problem, says the report, is that while the world has become increasingly interconnected, our capacity for global governance is now “highly fragmented”.
In a sense, this is another of the many fruits of globalisation. On the one hand, the increasing integration of the world economy has brought forward important new economic players like India and China. On the other hand, there’s now a far wider range of economic models on offer and what the report calls a “a growing divergence of opinion between countries on how to promote sustainable, inclusive growth”.
That creates a paradox, says the report, where “the conditions that make improved global governance so crucial – divergent interests, conflicting incentives and differing norms and values – are also the ones that make its realization so difficult, complex and messy”.
Separately, a report released in the run up to Davos shows that levels of trust in business are rising in much of the world, with the exception of the United States. The annual Trust Barometer suggests global trust in business rose two percentage points to 56%, reports the Financial Times ; in the US, however, it fell to 46%, an eight-point drop since 2009.
Overall, NGOs were at the top of the trust scale, on 61%; at the other end were insurers and banks. “Just 25% of Americans and 16% of Britons said they trusted banks to do the right thing,” reports Reuters. In Ireland, the figure was just 6%.