The rich and powerful gather in Davos. this is what they talk about

(CNN) — This week the skies of Switzerland are buzzing with planes carrying business and political leaders, media pundits and billionaires to Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF), an annual event where the elite compete for $150 steaks and $40-plus Debates important issues. Martins.

More than 60 heads of state will attend this year, including Israel’s President Isaac Herzog; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky; President of France, Emmanuel Macron; and China’s second in command, Li Qiang. The United States will also send Secretary of State Antony Blinken; National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan; and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry.

Business executives include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella; Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI; JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon; Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan; and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, to name a few.

This is what we will see rubbing shoulders with the most influential people in the world.

the world votes

With several major countries holding key elections this year (half the world’s population will go to the polls in 2024), leaders are concerned about how these developments could reshape international alliances and economic policies.

Of particular interest is the Republican primaries in the United States and how Donald Trump, who won the first Republican Party race of 2024 in Iowa last night, will fare.

“It’s a threat, it’s something that concerns people to a great extent, but it’s probably a threat to (Europe),” BlackRock Vice Chairman Philip Hildebrand told CNN’s Richard Quest on Monday about Trump’s re-election candidacy. “There may also be a warning.” ,

Important elections will also be held in Taiwan, India and Mexico this year.

climate disasters

Climate change is a hot topic as leaders meet to debate the balance between economic growth and sustainability.

Davos comes at a time when just a few days ago scientists around the world reported that the average temperature last year had set a new record. This change puts the world within one hundredth of a critical climate range.

The WEF’s Global Risks Report published last week concluded that climate change is one of the biggest threats facing the world.

The report also said that cooperation among world leaders on this issue is weak. So while leaders are likely to debate fossil fuel use and green growth, there may not be much agreement.

The WEF, for its part, said that an increase in extreme weather events, such as rising temperatures and the spread of floods and wildfires, could cause a “global catastrophe” within 10 years.

A decade of missed opportunities

In a world that is still recovering from the economic effects of the pandemic and where income inequality remains worryingly high, the global economy will likely be the topic of most debate.

The World Bank announced last week that the global economy’s growth rate is likely to reach its worst half-decade in 30 years. Without major reforms, it would be a “decade of wasted opportunities”, the bank said.

“It’s going to be very difficult to make money,” Nikolai Tangen, CEO of Norges Bank, which manages Norway’s $1.4 trillion government pension fund and calls itself the world’s largest individual investor in the stock market, told CNN’s Quest in Davos. “

“I think it will be difficult to eliminate inflation, and we are seeing wage growth in many parts of the world. The weather is now affecting inflation, transportation routes are affected, geopolitics is not good, so things are particularly good.” “Can’t be seen.” Okay,” he said.

jobs that disappear

The potential of artificial intelligence to transform economies and its ethical implications will be one of the central themes of this week.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), about 40% of jobs worldwide could be affected by the rise of artificial intelligence, a trend that will likely increase inequality.

In an article published on her blog this Sunday, IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva called on governments to establish social safety nets and introduce professional retraining programs to counter the impact of AI.

“In most scenarios, AI will make overall inequality worse, a worrying trend that policymakers must actively address to prevent the technology from further inflaming social tensions,” they wrote ahead of the WEF meeting. ,

According to a WEF report, concerns about AI disrupting elections also top the list of biggest risks for 2024.

OpenAI’s Altman and Microsoft’s Nadella will speak in Davos as part of an event that includes a debate on whether generative AI could spark another industrial revolution.

geopolitical tensions

With conflicts in Europe and the Middle East and rising tensions between the United States and China, geopolitics will be another major topic of conversation.

The leaders met in Davos on Sunday to discuss the Ukrainian president’s 10-point peace plan to end Russia’s war with his country. Zelensky is expected to give a speech Tuesday and meet with JPMorgan’s Dimon.

Israel’s President, for his part, will participate in talks with US Secretary of State and WEF Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab later this year on “achieving security and cooperation in a fragmented world.”

The wealth of the world’s five richest people has more than doubled since 2020

As my colleague Tammy Luhby reports, the five richest people on the planet have gotten much richer in recent years.

As of 2020, the net worth of Tesla CEO Elon Musk is; Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH; Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon; Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle; And Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett’s wealth has increased by 114% to a total of $869 billion after taking inflation into account, according to Oxfam’s annual inequality report published this Sunday.

If current trends continue, the world may see its first billionaire in a decade.

At the same time, about 5 billion people around the world have become poor, they are facing inflation, war and climate crisis. On the current trajectory, it will take about 230 years to eliminate poverty.

Nabeel Ahmed, director of racial and economic justice for Oxfam America, says inequality is growing, but there are some bright spots. Workers have mobilized through strikes and agreements which have improved their remuneration and working conditions. Furthermore, some governments have been in favor of promoting policies aimed at strengthening workers’ rights.

“We are in a new golden age, but workers, regulators, and unions and community organizers are beginning to sabotage it,” Ahmed said.

Why do Americans buy so little champagne?

After a few record years of sales, Champagne sales took some of the shine off in 2023 due to the end of COVID-19 lockdowns, my colleague Jordan Walinksy reports.

The Champagne Committee, a trade association representing more than 16,000 wine growers and 320 Champagne houses, said in a new report that total shipments of the bubble from France fell to 299 million bottles last year, an 8.2% decline compared to 2022. Is.

This marks a return to near-pre-Covid levels in 2019, when 297.3 million bottles were shipped. During its peak in 2022, sales increased 33%, when 325 million bottles were shipped.

But don’t cry for Moët. Although total shipments declined, the financial fortunes of many Champagne houses were less affected as they sold more expensive labels, allowing them to keep their sales above 6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) for next year, he said. the committee said in a statement.

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