Three decades from now a subtle shift will have taken root in our economy. It will start slowly, with billions of dollars changing hands annually, and then move to amass over $14 trillion by 2031. Millennials are expected to be the core beneficiaries of a coming $30 trillion transfer of wealth between generations, according to Accenture’s report on the “Greater Wealth Transfer.” This will impact philanthropy, investments, and possibly even global financial markets.
Technological innovation has a transformative potential for society and the global economy. In acknowledgement of the revolutionary power of such innovations, the World Economic Forum (WEF) annually recognizes 24 companies from around the globe as Technology Pioneers—companies at the forefront of their respective industries and trailblazers in cutting-edge products, processes, and business models. Collectively, the 2015 Technology Pioneers have pioneered innovation in healthcare, diagnostics, data analytics, sustainable energy solutions, unemployment abatement, and servicing off-grid communities with affordable and dependable electricity. These developments improve developed societies and facilitate rapid social, economic, and political change in developing societies.
Decentralized, virtual, and anonymous—cryptocurrencies continue to grow in use and in popularity. Bitcoin, the first of its kind to achieve notoriety, was created in 2009 by an unknown person with the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Transactions occur instantaneously through mobile apps or computers, thereby avoiding banks, credit card companies, and miscellaneous fees. Bitcoin boasts a market cap of about $8,000,000,000—considering the 13 million bitcoins in circulation, the value works out to over $500 each. In the past year, the number of bitcoin transactions per day has ranged from 40,000 to 100,000. Due to the anonymity and scope of the bitcoin economy, policymakers and corporations are beginning to take notice.
The internet has in recent years become a major driving force behind the global economy. But as information and communications technology (ICT) advances and proliferates at exponential speed, the implementation and maintenance of the essential supporting infrastructure is failing to keep pace with the rapidly increasing demands that are being placed on it. The World Economic Forum’s report titled “Delivering Digital Infrastructure: Advancing the Internet Economy” highlights the major infrastructure challenges facing the internet in coming years and what policy measures nations around the world can take to collectively ensure the continued growth and success of the global internet economy.
Terrorism, human trafficking, and drug smuggling have long painted a gritty picture of crime in the developing world, but new details are coming to light about another much less visible form of crime and its adverse effects on developing countries. Fraudulent financial transactions, in particular the misinvoicing of international trade transactions, are having a significant impact on the economies of five African countries, according to a report published May 12th titled Hiding in Plain Sight: Trade Misinvoicing and the Impact of Revenue Loss in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda: 2002-2011.
"This [Bitcoin] is a good development for the poor of the world. Those who do not have access to banking services, who do not have access to financial services of various kinds, are now gaining access through mobile payments. We are obviously in a period of disruptive innovation, and it is early in this revolutionary period, so we are kind of in the ‘let a thousand flowers bloom’ period." -- Al Gore
As the urgency of the global financial crisis faded, the world faced a new crisis: employment. A global job market filled with skills mismatches, tepid job creation, and uncertainty for investors has led to political instability and protests over income inequality, the ineffective state of higher education, and government inaction. By 2050, the world will need approximately 500 million new jobs to be created.
Imagine a stock market where share price is based solely on the currency of creating social impact. If you improve the lives of people in a community, identify a tangible solution or business model for a social problem, your stock goes up. The caveat is that the solution has to work, and has to demonstrate a measurable social impact to produce a return. Would you buy this stock? And if so, how much would you expect in return on your investment?
The three rounds of sanctions implemented against Russia are more about saving face in the short term than they are about creating costs for Moscow. Ultimately, they are necessary but counterproductive.
Northern Europe may have a cold climate, but for many women it is paradise nonetheless. In matters of gender equality, Nordic countries lead the way, according to the 2013 Global Gender Gap Report, issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
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