MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) — The World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual Outlook on the Global Agenda shaped by strained economic and geopolitical situations named income inequality and worldwide unemployment crisis as the top trends that will impact the world in 2015.
SOLUTIONS TO INCOME INEQUALITY
The WEF's first and the most significant trend is income inequality, as this is one of the key challenges of our time. Although it is clear that each year, more and more people in developing countries are battling their way from lower social classes to middle ones, deep challenges remain, including unemployment and poverty, WEF states.
According to the WEF, Asia will be most affected by income inequality in 2015, with Europe least affected. In order to tackle inequality, the WEF recommends states to devise a comprehensive approach, tackling the issue from social, economic and environmental perspectives, and working on providing unhindered access to healthcare and education.
However, attitudes to solving the problem across the world vary significantly. The WEF survey states that while Asians think the best solution to the problem is in improving education systems, Europe and North America feel that the most effective way to deal with income inequality is comprehensive tax policies.
The second trend identified by the WEF as affecting the global economy is unemployment. There is persistent growth in the number of jobless due to advancing technology and the decline in manufacturing jobs.
According to the WEF, 88 percent of people in Sub-Saharan Africa now see unemployment as a very big problem, while 79 percent share the same view in Latin America, and 71 percent in Europe. In North America, only 5 percent of people expect the economic situation in their country to improve significantly, while 19 percent think that the situation will only worsen. In Europe, 37 percent of the population thinks that the economic situation in 2015 will remain the same.
In Europe, Asia and Middle East it is thought that governments could tackle the problem by creating more jobs, while in North America the improved education is seen as the best possible solution. the WEF reports.
LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN LEADERS
According to the WEF, the vast majority of people agree that the world is experiencing a serious leadership crisis. People across the world mistrust their leaders because of persisting deep rooted corruption and a lack of strong and powerful leadership.
The WEF survey's respondents thought that successful leaders should be able to make long-term, empirical plans, to prioritize social justice over financial well-being, have a global interdisciplinary perspective, strong communication skills, courage, morality, and a collaborative nature. Besides which leaders should be inspirational.
As of today, the WEF estimates that 58 percent of people do not have confidence that government leaders are not abusing their powers, 56 percent do not have confidence in religious leaders, and only 55 percent of respondents have confidence in leaders of non-profit, charitable organizations.
RISING COMPETITION BETWEEN KEY GLOBAL PLAYERS
Today could possibly be the tensest period in terms of geopolitical competition since the Cold War, and those rising tensions have obvious and wide-ranging consequences for the global economy and politics.
The WEF says that the most obvious example of these negative tensions is the current misunderstandings between Russia and the West over the Ukrainian crisis. The Middle East is also unstable as the militant group Islamic State seizes control of vast territories, while regional authorities are trying to use the chaos to promote their own interests.
When respondents were asked by the WEF, what they thought were the five top solutions to rising geostrategic competition, the majority said negotiation and understanding, while improving multilateral organization was seen only as the fifth possible option. Thirty one percent of respondents thought that China would eventually replace the United States as the world's leading superpower, and 15 percent said that they thought that China had already replaced the US on the world stage. At the same time, Asia is thought to be the region most affected by rising geostrategic competition in 2015.
LACK OF DEMOCRATIC SYSTEMS
While modern mechanisms of governance imply that state systems should be more democratic than ever, there is still a wide gap between citizens and the officials representing them.
According to the WEF, representative democracy should actively involve citizens in the decision-making processes. The problem with democratic authorities can be demonstrated by the fact that voter turnout worldwide has dramatically changed over time.
In the 1970s about 85 percent of people across the globe voted at presidential elections, and only about 57 percent did so in 2017, the WEF reports. From 75 percent voter turnout at parliamentary elections during the 1970s, the rates went down to just under 65 percent in 2014. The regions, which are expected to be most affected by the weakening of representative democracy, are Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. In Europe, many people say there is a lack of understanding between authorities and citizens. Forty five percent of people in Germany, 64 percent in the United Kingdom, 77 percent in Italy and 69 percent in France believe that the European Union does not understand the needs of its citizens.
HIGH POLLUTION LEVELS
The sixth trend outlined by the WEF which will affect the world in 2015 is high pollution levels. Due to the rapid industrialization of the world, this has emerged as one of the major problems in the last decade. China's high manufacturing and production levels come at a huge price. The country has become the most affected region, as air pollution in the country contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010, the WEF says.
According the WEF experts, urban air pollution measured in PM10 (a measure of the volume of particles suspended in the atmosphere) in China was fixed at 125 µg/m3 in 2010, with the World Health Organization's recommended maximum concentration estimated at 20 µg/m3. Predictions for air pollution levels in China in 2050 are as high as 123µg/m3. At the same time pollution is not a problem in Russia, where pollution rates in 2010 were set at 43µg/m3, and are expected to reduce to 35 µg/m3 by 2050.It is important that countries like China focus on the research and development of solar power, wind turbines and carbon capture technologies.
The world experiences more extreme weather events, now than ever before which is a major consequence of climate change. Natural disasters cause the spread of disease, political unrest and damage economies.
The WEF reports that the most severe weather events in 2014 occurred in the United States, China, Australia and Pakistan. In the United Kingdom, the worst spell of winter rainfall in 248 years caused devastating flooding in February. In the US, a water deficit of 62 trillion gallons was recorded in August, caused by a record-breaking drought in California. The WEF has called on countries and international companies to invest in climate resilience, thus reducing the risks of more extreme weather events.
The September 18 referendum in Scotland could become a turning point in the rise of nationalism across the world, the WEF argues, stating that intensifying nationalism would be the 8th trend to affect the world in 2015. Europe is now expected to be the region most affected by nationalist movements in the next 12-18 months.
According to the WEF, it is important to understand that in the globalized world neighbors of different cultures and traditions can work with each other, cooperate, and try to find a way to benefit from sharing rights to benefits and services.
Increasing water pollution is caused by a variety of factors, including rapid population growth, constrained water supplies, and high poverty levels. While Europe and the Unites States are not seriously affected by water problems, developing countries like India, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Indonesia will be hit the hardest in 2015, the WEF reports. Over 3.9 million of people are expected to be affected by water scarcity by 2030, while a further 1.3 million will be living under water stress, the WEF states.
The number ten trend is a problem that the humanity has been fighting since the beginning of time. Health issues are a challenge to all nations with no exceptions. While advanced medicine constantly develops new vaccines and remedies, new illnesses emerge twice as fast.
In many countries, primarily lower-income ones, infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria kill thousands of people each year, the WEF reports. For the high and upper middle groups, other illnesses are more common, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
In 2014, the world was hit with the Ebola virus, which has claimed the lives of almost 5,000 people so far.
Improving the nation's health results in economic growth, so the WEF argues that governments should work harder to improve healthcare, make medical services affordable, and spend more money on biomedical research and building new hospitals.