The World Economic Forum (an elite organization in itself) recently released a study, The Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014, based on a survey of 1,592 leaders from academia, business, government, and the non-profit world. The elite group offered their opinion of the top 10 trends for 2014. Number two was "widening income disparities" about which the group concluded, "The difference between rich and poor is becoming more extreme, and as income inequality widens the wealth gap in major nations, education, health and social mobility are all threatened." The study recommended tackling poverty in an integrated way with long-term impact, emphasizing the problem of gender discrimination.
Number three on the group's list was another issue of paramount interest to working people: "persistent structural unemployment." They warned that unemployment is threatening the world's social fabric, declaring that young people in particular need to be productively employed. They were also concerned about "diminishing confidence in economic policies" (number six on the list), again focusing on young people.
Number one on the list was, "rising societal tensions in the Middle East and North Africa." I was disappointed there wasn't more emphasis on the environment, however, "inaction on climate change" did at least make number five. The group stated, in possibly the biggest understatement of the study, "There is action, and it’s moving in the right direction, but it’s not moving fast enough." They did admit that, "Our changing climate is the most pressing challenge we face," while adding "but it’s also the most compelling opportunity we’ve ever had," something environmentalists have been saying all along.
The concern of this elite group about the two great problems of our time—inequality between rich and poor and climate change— is refreshing and encouraging.