|Victims queue for food and water after super typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, Philippines. The WEF has identified inequality, extreme weather and unemployment as the biggest threat to the global community. Photograph: Erik De Castro/Reuters|
January 16, 2014
World Economic Forum survey identifies inequality as biggest flashpoint as well as extreme weather and unemployment
The large and growing income gap between rich and poor is the biggest risk to the global community in the next decade, the World Economic Forum said on Thursday as politicians, business leaders and academics prepared to gather in Davos.
Reflecting mounting concern about the risk to societies from inequality, the WEF said the need to tackle disparities in income and wealth had to be addressed at WEF’s annual gathering in the Swiss ski resort of Davos next week.
The WEF said its annual survey of 700 opinion formers had identified the income gap, extreme weather events and unemployment or underemployment as the three threats most likely to cause major cross-border damage in the next 10 years.
It added that a fresh fiscal crisis, climate change and water shortages were the three risks that would have the biggest impact on the global community, although these were seen as less likely.
Jennifer Blanke, the WEF’s chief economist, said that although incomes gap between countries had been narrowing, the gulf between rich and poor had widened within countries. “The message from the Arab spring, and from countries such as Brazil and South Africa is that people are not going to stand for it any more.”