According to the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab, falling commodities prices could soon bring even more immigrants to Europe. Such a wave of migration would be even more widespread than the current refugee crisis in the continent. Schwab made the comments in an interview leading up to the 46th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
Schwab said, “Look how many countries in Africa, for example, depend on the income from oil exports. Now imagine 1 billion inhabitants, imagine they all move north.”
Most of the discussions regarding falling commodities prices have focused on the impacts that occur in the economy and the global market. However, Schwab is also concerned about a potential “substantial social breakdown”.
According to Schwab, who originally founded the World Economic Forum, such changes in the market often lead to “unexpected consequences”. In today’s times, it is more difficult for policy makers to predict the impact of their actions. This has led to an “erosion of trust in decision makers”.
Schwab continued, “First, we have to look at the root causes of this. The normal citizen today is overwhelmed by the complexity and rapidity of what’s happening, not only in the political world but also the technological field.”
This has resulted in the rise of power of radical political leaders who typically use public fear and xenophobic ideologies to their advantage. Schwab says that we need proper reasoning to prevail by re-establishing the idea that we’re all in this together.
The theme for the World Economic Forum meeting this year is the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. The WEF defines this as a “fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres”.
Although technological innovate brings massive opportunities for many people, it can also bring about the loss of jobs as machines replace human workers. Schwab has warned that such technological innovation could destroy up to 20 million jobs in the coming years and reduce the middle class.
Schwab believes that this meeting of the World Economic Forum is particularly important, because it will provide policy makers a chance to look at the current situation and coordinate their efforts together for the greater good. The meeting represents the first real gathering of policymakers since the start of the recent commodities crash.