Economy

Here's What Worries World Leaders Even More Than Weapons of Mass Destruction

Here's What Worries World Leaders Even More Than Weapons of Mass Destruction

While the World Economic Forum's annual Global Risks Report for 2018 found that weapons of mass destruction were ranked as the most impactful threat, they were ranked as less likely to occur than extreme weather events, food and water crises, large-scale involuntary migration, or ecosystem collapse.

The report said in 2017 the WannaCry attack affected 300,000 computers across 150 countries.

"'Political or economic confrontations/frictions between major powers", "State-on-state military conflict" and "Regional conflict drawing in major powers" were the top three, but really the top one was "Political or economic confrontations', with 93% of respondents thinking they will somewhat increase or significantly increase in the coming year".

Also fueling heightened geopolitical volatility and the risk of conflict is the rise of "charismatic strongman politics" around the world, the report said, pointing to Trump and leaders in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines as representative of a "trend towards increasingly personalized power".

The world this year could see environmental degradation, cybersecurity breaches, economic strains and geopolitical tensions, says the World Economic Forum, calling for preparations to face sudden and dramatic disruptions. Some 80 percent saw an increased chance of war.

Drzik warned that even as the danger has become more visible, firms are still under-resourced when it comes to efforts to mitigate the risk. Cybersecurity was at the centre of concern for the almost 1,000 experts who provided feedback.

At the same time, companies' cyber exposure is growing.

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Economic risks, on the other hand, feature less prominently this year, leading some experts to worry that the improvement in global GDP growth rates may lead to complacency about persistent structural risks in the global economic and financial systems.

Last year, the annual elite gathering of world leaders and chief executives held in the Swiss alps focused on what impact the newly elected Republican president would have on the global economy. It was also noted as the risk most likely to get worse in 2018 in the overall Global Risks Perception Survey.

The pace at which businesses are being attacked also seems to be increasing.

The major concerns spotlighted in the report are environmentalism, including climate change, and the high degree of digital interconnectedness that leaves the world vulnerable to ransomware, denial of service attacks, Internet disinformation campaigns, and other forms of cyber mischief.

Last year's theme - "creative a shared future in a fractured world" - reflected the problems facing the world, namely what he saw as "the problems of the global growth of populism and nationalism, racism and religionism that is quite striking right now", Shiller said. Extreme weather events were seen as the single most prominent risk.

"We must take seriously the risk of a global systems breakdown".

"Together we have the resources and the new scientific and technological knowledge to prevent this".


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