We’ve been poring over the impressive Global Risks, 2012 report by the World Economic Forum. This juicy document aggregates the opinions of experts across the globe to determine just how the world as we know it is likely to end this year.
The fascinating report is really worth a look, and if you’re in a hurry, just check out this crazy infographic:
As you can see, it’s really quite simple: Unsustainable population growth increases complexity, risking critical systems failure as chronic fiscal imbalances test our very survival. Global governance failure means there is no apparatus to contain the problem as rising greenhouse gas emissions throw the environment into chaos. The rapidly disintegrating fabric of society might catch fire before it unravels.
OK, so that’s the doomsday scenario — clearly it would only take only one of the above disasters to seriously tilt civilization toward the edge. That’s why it’s helpful to cross-reference the above with this really cool interactive infographic which displays the likelihood of SHTF in economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological contexts. Each risk is also ranked by impact on how band it’s gonna screw up your day… and the days of 7 billion other folks.
So what do the experts say we should be watching out for the most? On a scale of 0-5, with 5 being ‘unavoidable’, “severe income disparity’ and ‘chronic fiscal imbalance’ rank just above a 4. Major systemic financial failure may only rank around 3 in likelihood, but it’s the hardest-hitting disaster at around a 4 impact. Other notable threats include environmental hazards and shortages of food and water, which the survey finds more inevitable than not.
While the report urges action to mitigate these threats, it paints the picture of a dystopia bound for mass casualties, noting that our preparedness has not evolved alongside the threats. World leaders are reading this report to learn how they can exploit these weaknesses. Business leaders are reading this report to see how they can profit. We highly recommend you at least skim the report, as a stakeholder in the survival of the fittest.