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TORONTO — A decade after the financial crisis, when the World Economic Forum (WEF) and its winter wonderland were a hotbed of debate and protests, the WEF’s 2019 gathering was a subdued affair, RBC Economics reported today.
Without Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin, or Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau, and all the media who travel with them, the tiny Alps town felt positively serene. said President Dave McKay.
“Maybe the quieter atmosphere was needed for some reflection on where the world’s gone since the crisis, and to cast forward to where it might be headed. This was my fourth Davos, and in many ways, the most enlivening,” he explained.
“Clearly, the U.S.-China trade fight, and uncertain course of Brexit, had the gathering on edge. But the serious conversations focused on what lay beyond those crises,” McKay said.
This year’s theme was Globalization 4.0, a concept hatched at Davos to explain the coming age of intelligent and ubiquitous technologies that will connect everyone and everything in ways the previous engines of globalization — steam, electricity and computing — could not.
“In this new era, smart machines will shape our companies and communities, and advanced technologies will be embedded in every object, and perhaps every person, we encounter,” said McKay. “It will be an age when data isn’t just the new oil; it will be the new water, the lifeblood of everything our society will want and need.
“The prospects can be unnerving, but I came away encouraged, with more clarity about how transformative technologies and a new generation of thinking can take our world into the next stage of globalization, and make it more decent, democratic and distributed,” he added.
RBC prepared a free report regarding the challenges societies, businesses and governments will need consider in the years ahead. The report is available at www.rbc.com.