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Are We Living The Most Prosperous And Peaceful Times In Recorded History?


Are We Living The Most Prosperous And Peaceful Times In Recorded History?

The Global Competitiveness Report 2016–2017 is being launched at a time of rising income inequality, mounting social and political tensions, and a general feeling of uncertainty about the future.

Growth remains persistently low: commodity prices have fallen, as has trade; external imbalances are increasing; and government finances are stressed. However, it also comes during one of the most prosperous and peaceful times in recorded history, with less disease, poverty, and violent conflict than ever before.

Against this backdrop of seeming contradictions, the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings both unprecedented opportunity and an accelerated speed of change. Creating the conditions necessary to reignite growth could not be more urgent.

The Report this year is the latest edition of the Forum’s longstanding cross-country benchmarking analysis of the factors and institutions that determine long-term growth and prosperity.

Incentivizing innovation is especially important for finding new growth engines, but laying the foundations for long-term, sustainable growth requires working on all factors and institutions identified in the Global Competitiveness Index.

Leveraging the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will require not only businesses willing and able to innovate, but also sound institutions, both public and private; basic infrastructure, health, and education; macroeconomic stability; and well-functioning labor, financial, and human capital markets.

Although there is broad consensus on the importance of the factors currently measured in the Index, we are undertaking a review process that seeks to understand the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on measures of productivity and the drivers of growth.

In the second chapter of this Report, we present our thinking regarding the potential future structure of the Index, building on consultations with experts on each pillar under the thought leadership of our main academic advisor, Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martín.

It explores new ways of assessing innovation, human capital, and competitiveness at different stages of development, as well as our latest thinking on how our benchmarking tools can be used for policy prioritization.

We face a large challenge—how to build a more prosperous and inclusive world for all. As a flagship effort of the Forum’s System Initiative on Economic Growth and Social Inclusion, The Global Competitiveness Report serves as a tool for public-private collaboration on long-term competitiveness agendas contributing to this objective.

As well as the thought leadership of Professor Sala-i-Martín, The Global Competitiveness Report 2016–2017 has benefited from the dedication and collaboration of 160 Partner Institutes worldwide.

We would like to convey our appreciation to all the business executives who respond to our Executive Opinion Survey, one of the unique components of the Index.

Appreciation also goes to Professor Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman, who developed the original concept back in 1979; Jennifer Blanke, Chief Economist; Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz, Head of Global Competitiveness and Risks; and team members Silja Baller, Attilio Di Battista, Ciara Browne, Roberto Crotti, Caroline Galvan, Thierry Geiger, Daniel Gómez Gaviria, Gaëlle Marti, and Stéphanie Verin.

RICHARD SAMANS is Head of the Centre for the Global Agenda and Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum.

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