Lists three threats to civilisation: climate change, terrorism and ‘the opposite of globalisation’
GN Bureau | January 23, 2018
Prime minister Narendra Modi underlined the need for a consensus among the nation to realise the dream of a beautiful shared future, as he addressed the plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday.
After introductory remarks by the Forum's founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab and Swiss Confederation president Alain Berset, the prime minister of the world's largest democracy took the stage. He said the last time an Indian PM was in Davos, 21 years ago, India's GDP was around $400 billion, and today it's six times that.
In 1997, there were no signs of Brexit or the Asian financial crisis, Google was yet to be launched, and tweeting was something that was done by birds, not humans, he said. Now we live in a society that is a network of other complex networks. Today, we are living in the world of big data, AI and robots. Technology has impacted every aspect of our lives, Modi said.
This is creating the greatest opportunities, but also huge challenges. Rapidly changing technology could lead us to prosperity, but it is also creating fault lines. Is our global order widening these fault lines? How can we eliminate these rifts, and realise the dream of a beautiful shared future, Modi asked.
In order to fight the challenges we face, we must overcome the lack of consensus that exists between nations, he added. Modi then listed what he considers as the three main challenges that post the greatest threat to the survival of civilization as we know it.
The ice caps are melting, islands are sinking. Floods, drought, we see the impact of extreme weather events everywhere, he said. Everyone talks about reducing carbon emissions, but there are very few countries that back their words with resources and help emerging countries.
We have moved from frugal consumption to needs-based consumption, to greed consumption: is this development, or our downfall, he asked.
The second great challenge is terrorism. Terrorism is dangerous, he said, but equally dangerous is the artificial distinction between good and bad terrorists. He also hoped that the world can find a solution to the radicalization of young people.
Thirdly, more and more countries are becoming focused on themselves. The opposite of globalization is happening, he said. Everyone is talking about an interconnected world, but we have to realize that globalization is losing its lustre. The forces of protectionism are raising their heads. They want to reverse the natural flow of globalization, he added.
Bilateral trade agreements have come to a standstill. Most nations have seen a decrease in cross-border investment. Growth in the global supply chain has been stopped. The answer to this is not isolation, but accepting change.
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