Sleepwalking with the 2019 Global Risk Report

The Global Risks Report 2019, published by the World Economic Forum, was released on January 15, 2019. It is the perfect report to read on a dreary winter afternoon and checks in at a light 114 pages and comes complete with graphics that Edward Tufte would no doubt approve. With the overall theme of “Is the world sleepwalking into a crisis?” the report covers the likelihood and potential impacts of important global risks that face us in the future. This report, as with others in the series (this is the 14th annual risk assessment), surveyed global leaders between the dates of September 6 to October 22, 2018. The global leaders surveyed are from business, government, civil society and thought leaders.

My first observation is that the identified risks tend to be backward looking. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that they are driven by current events and the news cycle of the day. And given that the risks are identified by survey creators and assessed by respondents, no matter how astute they may be, this is no surprise. And after all, many current events may indeed be very likely to occur or have a high impact if they do occur, so maybe this should not be a surprise.


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