World Economic Forum asked to take into account co-ops and the social and solidarity economy

Business leaders, economists and politicians are meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this week for the World Economic Forum (WEF). This year’s forum is looking at what responsible and responsive leadership means....

Business leaders, economists and politicians are meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this week for the World Economic Forum (WEF). This year’s forum is looking at what responsible and responsive leadership means.

One of the key topics for the 2017 edition is re-imagining global co-operation. During a pre-event press conference, WEF executive chair Klaus Schwab talked about the four major tracks for the annual meeting. These are: reinvigorating global economic growth; ensuring that market capitalism is more inclusive; addressing the fourth industrial revolution; and reinforcing global ties.

“We need to adapt to the new context and reinforce global ties. If we don’t address issues as a global community we will all fail,” said Mr Schwab.

He warned that the current growth rate of 3% was not enough to solve the major challenges in the world such as the lack of social inclusion and youth unemployment.

“Every market economy will produce winners and losers,” he added, “but the system will only be sustainable if there is enough solidarity between winners and loser.,”

Over 2,500 international leaders are attending the Forum. Co-ops are not represented year but International Co-operative Alliance president Monique Leroux attended the forum in 2016. Following her participation Ms Leroux highlighted that co-operation was key to fostering successful collaborations.

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In the run-up to this year’s event, Diego Isabel La Moneda, co-founder of the Global Hub for the Common Good, wrote to Mr Schwab asking for the inclusion of the new economy movements on the agenda of the World Economic Forum General Assembly.

In the letter, he warned it is necessary “to challenge the main assumptions of our current economic system, such as the real meaning of the word economy, as well as development, growth and competitiveness.

“The time has come to rethink money, banking and finance. The time has come to reshape organisations for the common good. The time has come to redistribute power and explore new governance models -more decentralised, more democratic.

“The time has come to stop talking about competitiveness and start promoting collaboration. The time has come to put an end to our extractive economy and to move towards a regenerative one.”

Mr La Moneda, who is also director of the NESI Forum, said the Forum should take into account the social and solidarity economy and the co-operative movement, alongside other models such as the emerging collaborative economy, the economy for the common good, the commons, transition towns and Fairtrade.

“Would you be brave enough to bring these proposals to Davos? Would you be brave enough to hear new voices? In that case, you will have my strong support and I am sure people worldwide will follow,” he wrote.

Mr La Moneda is founder of the New Economy and Social Innovation Global Forum (NESI Forum), which takes place on 19-22 April in Malaga, Spain.

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