The Davos Forum, organized by the World Economic Forum, founded by Klaus Schwab 50 years ago, follows the hot topics at all times. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, the focus was on digitalization. And to explain the digital transformation Schwab published two works entitled The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In the first, the author explains that digitalization is a radical economic, labor and social change, with an impact similar to that of the steam engine, electricity and the computer. In the second book, Schwab delves into each digital technology. And it points to the need for social inclusion so that digitalization does not increase the social divisions between rich and poor. In both books he makes references to the need to fight against climate change.
Fighting against climate change and against social inequalities are the big themes of Davos today. Economic growth, finances, demography, digitalization … are present, but subject to these two great themes.
Climate change is the great topic of conversation in the public square. And the fiery fires in California and Australia foster social awareness. In 2007, when Al Gore presented his film An inconvenient truth with images of polar bears that, due to lack of ice, died drowned tired of swimming, we all broke our hearts. But, then, the fight against climate change was still a matter reserved for large global economic forums such as the G-8 (most industrialized countries in the world), OECD (richest countries in the world) or the G-20 (rich countries and emerging, such as the BRIC or Brazil, Russia, India and China, among others). In these forums, not enough importance was given to climate change because what prevailed was to talk about economic growth and trade. The fight against climate change continued to be a matter of experts and aware ordinary people.RELATED
But now it is in the Davos Forum, where activists, trade unionists or members of NGOs are not the most abundant groups. As always, world leaders are more represented, be they political-rulers or presidents and CEO of large companies. It is obvious to the great symbol of the fight against climate change that Greta Thunberg has no conscientious problems when talking about climate change. Yesterday in his intervention in Davos he approached the attendees for not taking seriously the fight against global warming. He received much more applause than the president of the United States, Donald Trump, who is not prevented from sleeping by climate change. Donald Trump spoke half an hour of the economic miracle of the United States. GDP growth and job creation. He put in the center, as protagonists, the blue-collars, the workers who, in their case, are an important part of their electorate, because they lost their jobs when the factories (pollutants) disappeared as a result of globalization: factories do they vanished, but they moved from the US to China, where they have no regrets of conscience about the emission of greenhouse gases. Without factories, China does not grow. Every time a Chinese leader – or Indian, Brazilian, Russian – has been struck to pollute, his answer is that they are doing now – as emerging countries – what the rich countries did in the previous industrial revolutions. And they accuse those critics of hypocrites and those who promote them.
Trump, who has come to Davos when the impeachment process begins in the US Senate, gave a speech addressed to the American people, well promoted by Fox News and very much disgusted by CNN. Regarding climate change, he made it clear that we must not pay attention to the people who announce the end of the world due to global warming. This has been his usual message and, now more, in an election campaign. That is why he focused on the economy and – according to many of those present in Davos now – necessary reform of capitalism to reduce (buzzword: income inequality) social inequalities.
The way to re-found capitalism is not a turn to social democracy, as advocated in the US, by Joe Biden or even to socialism, as promoted by Bernie Sanders and Elisabeth Warren. For Trump, restoring capitalism means "more capitalism, more free enterprise, greater market freedom," he said in Davos. Event promoter Klaus Schwab effusively thanked Trump for his words and congratulated him on his economic achievements. Nobody blames Schwab to side with Trump: the owner of the event takes the side of all US presidents 50 years ago until today. The debate on the reform of capitalism would open the flesh of any capitalist. And in Davos, now, there are many: entrepreneurs and managers who have to please their shareholders with ever greater benefits; whoever that fails.
But businessmen and managers have found the best way to refocus the issue for their own benefit: fashion is sustainability, corporate social responsibility, capitalism that not only thinks of shareholders (shareholders), but also stakeholders (groups of interest)…
It is fashion, yes. But do they really believe it or have they simply discovered a more effective way to sell products and services under the "socially responsible" formula?
Jorge Díaz Cardiel is Managing Partner Advice Strategic Consultants. Author of ‘Hillary vs. Trump year one’ and ‘Trump, year of thunder and complacency’