Income inequality and climate change biggest influencers of upcoming global developments, says 2017 risks report

12 January 2017

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A new report from the World Economic Forum suggests that income inequality, climate change, and societal polarisation are the three trends that will most influence global developments over the next decade.

The ‘Global Risks Report 2017, to which the Oxford Martin School served as an academic adviser, urges collaborative action by world leaders, to avoid further hardship and instability in the coming years. In the annual survey that the report is built upon, 750 experts assessed 30 global risks, as well as 13 underlying trends that could amplify or impact upon these risks. It names the key challenges the world now faces as “reviving economic growth; reforming market capitalism; facing up to the importance of identity and community; managing technological change; protecting and strengthening our systems of global cooperation; and deepening our efforts to protect the environment.”

Professor Jim Hall, Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Resource Stewardship, contributes a chapter to the report entitled ‘Physical Infrastructure Networks and the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ considering the opportunities and risks associated with the transformation of networks of physical infrastructure – e.g. transport, water and energy systems.

In further detailing technological risk to employment, the report extensively draws upon research from the Oxford Martin School’s Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne on jobs automation and the future of the workplace, citing their 2013 research paper ‘The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?’