The second decade of the twenty-first century is about to end; the world is still struggling to eliminate the perils that can halt growth, development, and stability in many ways. Even in 2018, there are significant global risks that can be a potential threat to the world peace, human survival, and sustainability of this planet.
Global Risks Report 2018 by World Economic Forum, has revealed the five significant global risks that people of the planet would have to deal with in 2018. Among these, four risks are noteworthy and need serious attention. Otherwise, they can jeopardize the future of humanity.
Rising Inequality as One of the Main Global Risks
Inequality is an unpleasant by-product of capitalism. In general, the WEF report showed optimism for economic growth and presented environmental risk as a prominent challenge. But, it also heralded the consequences of growing inequality within the nations. The report quoted IMF stating that 53% of the world’s countries are facing an increasing trend in income inequality.
The research pointed out towards following three factors that could present a threat to fairness.
- Growing disparity in income and health
- Digitization and automation are affecting the employment and disrupting Labour market.
- Gender parity in health, politics, education, and workplace. There has also been more talk about issues like sexual harassment. Recently, Golden Globes 2018 ceremony was also themed around MeToo campaign.
Conflicts and Identity Crises
Globalization and digitization are a precursor of growth. But, both seem to be failing in the face of identity crises. Global Risks report by WEF also highlighted the rise of far-right powers in the US, UK, and EU. Middle East crises, the threat of nuclear weapons, terrorism, and a trend towards personalized power among the countries of the region are the significant risks.
The report highlighted the following events that indicate a higher risk of geopolitical conflicts, within the states and between the countries.
- Promotion of Unilateralism by President Trump by withdrawing from Paris Agreement on Climate Change and TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).
- The inability of WTO (World Trade Organization) to resolve the disputes.
- Failure to comply with multilateral trade and resulting provocation of the geopolitical tensions
- Rise of far-right parties in EU countries like Austria, Hungary, and France
- Separation of UK from EU
Climate change is one of the most prominent global risks that WEF report has highlighted. Soil and Air pollution, loss of biodiversity, the rise in temperature, global warming, and intense hurricanes are the apparent threats to the life on the planet. The report also pointed towards the water crises and dangers of involuntary migration in the world.
It is a fact that countries are becoming more conscious about the impact of climate change than ever. But according to WEF report, such consciousness would present another challenge as the world would make a transition to low carbon impact future.
Risks to Cyber Security
Internet of Things is going to be one of the major technology trends in 2018. At the same times, it can also contribute to significant global risks of the year. According to WEF report, 2017 was the year of cyber-attacks. The same danger continues to persist for this year as well. Shifting to the digital platforms and online spaces for data storage and communication has eased the lives in many ways. But it also makes the personal information and personal data vulnerable to the security breach. Corporates and financial institutes like banks would need to spend more for fighting against cybersecurity and keeping their systems secure against the attacks.