Different cultures span the globe, and with that, various societal sentiments, such as fear, are also differentiated.
In order to determine what these fears are, a survey was conducted by the World Economic Forum in the fall of 2015 to determine what the threat and risks are in the next decade. This survey included over 700 experts and stakeholders from a variety of fields, including banking, government, and academia.
The top global risk in the next 10 years was determined to be the “large-scale involuntary migration” — a divisive topic during the time the survey was conducted. According to the Pew Research Center, the refugee crisis in the Middle East, particularly from Syria, gave rise to the polarising reports on the news — from the locals’ claims of sexual harassment in Germany, to the potential risk of terrorist infiltration amongst the incoming wave of refugees.
As far as the risk that could have the greatest global impact goes, the “failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation” was deemed to be the top concern. In 2015, the Pew Research Center also conducted a poll where the majorities in all 40 countries it surveyed considered it a serious problem — the public’s in 19 countries even deemed it the leading global threat. The fact that leaders from 195 nations attended a UN conference in December to discuss the rising global temperature may have played a role in the worrying responses.
As far as threats to the world go — western society in general — such as the US and parts of Europe, seem to place the threat of ISIS as its top concern. After a series of terrorist attacks throughout the past year, fears of further attacks have spread — even the current political campaigns, both home and abroad, have centered around the problem.
In other parts of the world, such as South America and parts of Asia, climate change is on the top of the list. Given China and India’s smog blanketing large portions of the country, it comes to no surprise that many respondents agree that climate change is perceived as a persistent threat to the world.
These global risks and threats appear to have dramatically shifted from the worrying state of the economy in 2007. Back then, panic of a looming stock market crash and social movements addressing income inequality took precedence over the threat of an ISIS-related incident at home.
Russia, however, seems to be one of the few exceptions — economic instability remains its top concern. And although the global economy may not have been the highest concern amongst the respondents of the survey, it still has cause for some pause — according to the Pew Research Center, a recent PwC survey of 1,300 top executives suggests that only 27% of them see the global economy improving in 2016.
Recent events across the world will no doubt bear some influence in this survey for the future. In particular, the failed coup in Turkey and the terrorist attacks in France suggests that the threat of ISIS may spread across Europe and remain a top threat for western cultures. Additionally, increasing evidence of its existence and the actions of worldwide leaders may satiate the impact posed by global warming.
Check out the full report from the Pew Research Center.
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