Davos Boss Warns Refugee Crisis Could Be Precursor to Something Much Bigger

Joe Weisenthal, Bloomberg Business, January 18, 2016

As the crash in commodities prices spreads economic woe across the developing world, Europe could face a wave of migration that will eclipse today’s refugee crisis, says Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

“Look how many countries in Africa, for example, depend on the income from oil exports,” Schwab said in an interview ahead of the WEF’s 46th annual meeting, in the Swiss resort of Davos. “Now imagine 1 billion inhabitants, imagine they all move north.”

Whereas much of the discussion about commodities has focused on the economic and market impact, Schwab said he’s concerned that it will also spur “a substantial social breakdown.”

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The theme for this year’s meeting is the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which the WEF defines as a “fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”

While that presents huge opportunities, Schwab warns that technological innovation may result in the loss of 20 million jobs in the coming years. Those job cuts risk “hollowing out the middle class,” Schwab said, “a pillar of our democracies.”

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