The rich and powerful gather in Davos. Here’s what they’re talking about

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The skies in Switzerland are on fire this week as planes carry businessmen, political leaders, pundits and billionaires to Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF), an annual event where elites discuss the year’s most pressing issues at $150 steaks and $40 martinis. .

This year, more than 60 heads of state will attend, including Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Chinese second-in-command Li Qiang. The United States is also sending 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, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, to name a few.

Here’s what we’ll be watching as the world’s biggest influencers.

The world votes: With many major countries about to hold pivotal elections this year (half of the world’s population will go to the polls in 2024), Leaders feel anxious About how these events could reshape international alliances and economic policies.

Of particular interest are the US Republican primaries and how Donald Trump, who won the first GOP contest of 2024 in Iowa last night, might fare.

“It is a threat, it is something that greatly worries people, but it is also perhaps a wake-up call (for Europe),” said Philipp Hildebrand, vice chairman of BlackRock. CNN’s Richard Quest On Monday, Trump will run for re-election.

This year also witnesses important elections in Taiwan, India and Mexico.

Climate disasters: Climate change is a hot topic as leaders meet to discuss balancing economic growth and sustainability.

Davos comes just days after scientists around the world announced that average temperatures last year reached a new record high. This change may I pushed the world Only hundredths of a degree away from the critical climate threshold.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, published last week, found that climate change is one of the biggest risks facing the world.

The report also said that cooperation between world leaders on the issue is rare. So, while leaders are likely to discuss fossil fuel use and green development, there may not be much agreement.

At the same time, the World Economic Forum said that an increase in extreme weather events, including High temperatures And rampant Floods And Forest firesmay lead toGlobal catastrophe“Within 10 years.

A decade of missed opportunities: In a world still recovering from the economic shocks caused by the pandemic, and with the level of income inequality at an astonishing level, the global economy is likely to be the most discussed topic.

The World Bank said last week that the global economy is likely to slow to the worst half-decade of growth in the past 30 years. The bank said that without a “significant course correction,” this will be “a decade of missed opportunities.”

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

I think it will be difficult to eliminate inflation as we see wage increases in many parts of the world. “You see the climate affecting inflation now, you see transportation routes being affected, and the geopolitics is not great, so it doesn’t look particularly good,” he said.

Jobs disappearing: The ability of artificial intelligence to transform economies and its ethical implications will be another focal point this week.

barely 40% of jobs It is possible that all parts of the world will be affected by the rise of artificial intelligence, a trend that is likely to be affected Deepening inequalityaccording to the International Monetary Fund.

on Sunday Blog postInternational Monetary Fund President Kristalina Georgieva called on governments to create social safety nets and provide retraining programs to counter the impact of artificial intelligence.

“In most scenarios, AI will likely worsen overall inequality, a worrying trend that policymakers must proactively address to prevent technology from further inflaming social tensions,” she wrote ahead of the World Economic Forum meeting. High on the agenda.

Meanwhile, concerns about election disruption by artificial intelligence topped the list of biggest risks for 2024, according to a World Economic Forum report.

OpenAI’s Altman and Microsoft Nadella He will speak in Davos as part of a program that includes a discussion on whether generative AI could lead to another industrial revolution.

Geopolitical tensions: With conflict in Europe and the Middle East and rising tensions between the US and China, geopolitics will be another major topic of conversation.

Leaders met in Davos on Sunday to discuss Ukrainian President Zelensky’s 10-point peace plan to end Russia’s war with his country. Zelensky is expected to deliver a speech later Tuesday and meet with JPMorgan’s Dimon.

Meanwhile, Israeli President Herzog will participate in a conversation on “Achieving Security and Cooperation in a Fractured World,” with US Secretary of State Blinken and World Economic Forum CEO Klaus Schwab later this week.

The fortunes of the five richest men in the world have doubled since 2020

The five richest people on Earth have become richer in recent years. My colleague Tammy Lohby reports.

Since 2020, the net worth of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett has risen 114% to a collective total of $869 billion. dollars after taking inflation into account. Account, according to Oxfam’s annual report on inequalityreleased Sunday.

If current trends continue, the world may witness the emergence of its first trillionaire in a decade.

At the same time, nearly 5 billion people globally are becoming poorer, as they face inflation, war and the climate crisis. It will take approximately 230 years to eradicate poverty based on the current trajectory.

Although inequality is on the rise, there are some bright spots, said Nabil Ahmed, director of economic and racial justice at Oxfam America. The workers have been flexing their muscles through… Strikes And deals To improve their compensation and working conditions. Some governments also stood by them, Payment policies Aims to promote workers’ rights.

“We find ourselves in a new golden age, but workers, organizers, unions and community organizers are starting to create cracks in it,” Ahmed said.

Why are Americans buying less Champagne?

Champagne sales lost some of their popularity in 2023 after a few years of record sales spurred it End of Covid-19 lockdowns, My colleague Jordan Valinsky reports.

Total Champagne shipments from France last year fell to 299 million bottles, a decline of 8.2% compared to 2022, Comité Champagne, a trade association representing more than 16,000 wine growers and 320 champagne houses, said in a new report.

This represents a return almost to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2019, when 297.3 million bottles were shipped. During its peak in 2022, sales rose 33%, with 325 million bottles shipped.

But don’t cry for Moet. Although overall shipments were down, the financial fortunes of many Champagne houses were less affected because they sold more Expensive labelsThe committee said in a statement, enabling it to maintain its sales above 6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) for another year.

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