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Davos 2013: Financial/Climate Crisis or Empathy Crisis?

It’s that time of year again when the world’s most powerful business leaders and media personalities converge in the beautiful Davos ski resort. Messages from previous years were much closer to the heart of the issue, but we see now that the confusion among the world’s elite about the current state of affairs has taken them off track.

In 2012 Arianna Huffington was 100% on target:

“Her analysis was that the world isn’t suffering from a financial crisis, or a eurozone crisis, or a confidence crisis as much as from a crisis of empathy. Her prescription? Slow down, unplug, and get a lot more sleep. You’ll better understand and really connect with the people around you — and that, more than stimulus of the monetary or intellectual sort — is the key to making the world a better place.”

Professor Klauss Schwab also said some pretty profound statements back in November 2010:

One new reality is global interconnectivity and the fact that all challenges must be addressed on the basis of “togetherness”. Thus the most crucial factor in accepting the new reality and confronting its opportunities and risks is our willingness to develop shared norms on all levels. Without such shared norms our reform efforts will remain at best piecemeal and at worst simply lip-service. Shared norms require principles and values. Here again, we should not look to old-world recipes since unfettered capitalism and state-directed collectivism have both been bankrupted as guiding ideologies. Our only way out is the stakeholder concept. This means that the pursuit of our own interests can only be substantially realized by incorporating the interests of all those with whom we have a mutually dependent relationship. This is true on all levels, and in any capacity in which we take decisions: family life, society, business or politics.”

But in 2013, Professor Klauss Schwab is mainly focused on building resilience to global risks: “… highlight the need for strengthening existing mechanisms to mitigate and manage risks, which today primarily exist at the national level. This means that while we can map and describe global risks, we cannot predict when and how they will manifest; therefore, building national resilience to global risks is of paramount importance.”  He reached this conclusion after an extensive survey of 1000 experts, and the result is the eight edition of the Global Risks 2013 report. The two main issues he is worried about: Davos man fears more storms, both real and economic  – Reuters.

At Davos 2012, Occupy protesters crashed the party and succeeded in highlighting some of the big issues that need to be addressed in society, but that whole movement has pretty much subsided.

So to be perfectly honest we are a little bit disappointed with Professor Schwab this year. We would have liked to see him get some more great messages out to the world but he is solely focused on preparing for upcoming disasters rather than getting to the root of the issue.  Unfortunately from everything we can see the decisions of the Forum will continue to be based on the old egoistic paradigm and will result in the decline of all economies, and increased natural disasters. This is because our egoistic thoughts are causing all this havoc in our world. The solution involves forming a new kind of human being – people who understand the new global stage the world has entered and view everything from that cosmopolitan perspective.

In 2013 Professor Schwab is focused on minimizing risks at the national level and has completely backtracked from his global interconnectivity outlook that was so perfectly on target. He is not alone in this. Jeff Skoll who we greatly admire, set up the Skoll Global Threats Fund that highlights all the issues, but says nothing about their connection to one another.

So once again, the connection between the financial storm, the real storms, the escalating gun violence, the social storm that is brewing – it is all one and the same thing: a reflection of the current relationships between us where we are mainly concerned with our own personal pleasure, and will do just about anything to maintain our status symbols and toys. The solution will require educating all of us how to really be human again and how we can organize society so we can all really enjoy life here without all the fears and anxieties we have today. Right now Davos 2013 is fueling those fears and it’s a shame that that’s what this important platform is being used for this year.