Davos 2018: Day 1

As world leaders, global CEO’s and members of the international business community gather in Davos, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum Meeting, Emerging Market Views reports on happenings from the Alpine resort.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Davos, Switzerland, addressing an audience at the 2018 World Economic Forum

Climate change and resistance (or “backlash” as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi put it) to globalization are among the top issues being discussed this week.

Modi, who as Prime Minister of India leads one of the fastest-growing major economy in the world – as well as the world’s largest democracy – at Davos, delivered a special address during which he also spoke about the opportunities and dangers of technology, India’s plan to fight income inequality, job creation, and how the country is “cutting the red tape and rolling out the red carpet” to international trade and investment.

“Everyone talks about reducing carbon emissions but there are very few people or countries who back their words with their resources to help developing countries to adopt appropriate technology. Very few of them come forward to help,” Modi told his audience.

Global economic growth is making a stronger than expected comeback. It is likely to accelerate to as much as 4 percent in 2018 from 3.2 percent in 2016. This is good news on many fronts, but can we expect this stronger growth to relieve the frustrations about rising inequality and economic insecurity that have rocked the political establishments of many countries?

That has been the implicit assumption behind the standard “growth model” of recent decades, Richard Samans of the World Economic Forum argues, mainly a rising tide of GDP promoted particularly by supply-side reforms and increased incentives for private capital investment and export-oriented production will ultimately lift all boats.

At the 2018 World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, the Forum’s Shaping the Future of Economic Progress Initiative is publishing such a broader measure of national economic performance, the Inclusive Development Index (IDI).

The IDI is based on the notion that most citizens evaluate their countries’ economic progress not by the number of goods and services produced in their economy (GDP) but by their household’s standard of living — a multidimensional phenomenon that encompasses income, employment opportunity, economic security and quality of life.