English / ქართული /

Journal number 1 ∘ Mikhail Jibuti
Davos 2024 – Envisioning the Anticipated Future


ჟურნალი N 1. 2024

Top of Form This report offers an overview of the proceedings of the 54th World Economic Forum (referred to hereafter as the ~Forum~) convened in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. It delves into topics of interest to Georgian political and academic spheres. Beyond economic and political insights, extracting situational and socio-public implications from the Davos Forum holds significance in comprehending and accommodating prevailing realities. Davos Forum 2024 seamlessly continued the trajectory set in motion in 2023, encapsulating the synthesis of a post-pandemic new reality, characterized by both the aftermath of the pandemic and widespread military-terrorist activities, notably Russia's aggression in Ukraine. This, coupled with the mounting exclusivity in social-humanitarian and economic sciences and national strategies, has led to a pervasive sense of uncertainty, encapsulated in the Forum's overarching theme of "Rebuilding Trust." As articulated by the Forum's organizers, the pivotal question at hand is whether permacrisis will supersede polycrisis (as termed in the Davos 2023 Forum), or if 2024 will mark a year of tension alleviation and the restoration of sustainability.
Based on the surveys and presentations carried out for and delivered at the Davos 2024 forum, it's evident that the outlook for the year ahead mirrors the challenges of 2023. Persistent inflationary pressures remain unresolved, and there's growing concern over the role of artificial intelligence in exacerbating existential and environmental crises. The forum's discussions transcended traditional economic concerns, delving into the complexities of globalization and the interconnected web of global issues. Geopolitical considerations were accorded as much importance as economic factors, reflecting a holistic approach to global challenges. Within the economic discourse, particular emphasis was placed on the digital and circular economies, highlighting their potential for transformation and sustainable development. However, a notable revelation came in the form of threat rankings, with disinformation identified as the foremost challenge in the short term. This conclusion stemmed from the intersection of AI proliferation and the unprecedented engagement of over half the global population, including participation in the 2024 parliamentary elections, notably in regions like Georgia.
Perhaps most alarming was the alignment of the gravest risk with a profoundly disconcerting reality: the pervasiveness of falsehoods during electoral processes. Moreover, when contemplating on where AI can overcome human beings, the unsettling truth emerges – its capacity to propagate deceit and disinformation on a significant, even global scale.
In essence, the discourse at Davos 2024 underscored the imperative for proactive measures to navigate the intricate challenges of the modern age, where technological advancements intersect with societal vulnerabilities in unprecedented ways.
Examining the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, assessing the current post-pandemic landscape, and fortifying against future analogous challenges stand as imperative tasks for Georgia. This urgency is heightened by the alarming revelation discussed at Davos 2024 – the specter of "Disease X."
The Covid-19 pandemic has illuminated a fundamental vulnerability in the prevailing human hegemony, highlighting the fragility of human dominance as a biological species. Furthermore, it has underscored the limitations inherent in prevailing economic theories, including those predominant prior to the pandemic era, exposing their unilateral perspectives and inadequacies in addressing multifaceted global challenges.
The conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Hamas, have created the realm in which the role of the middle corridor is significantly increasing. Consequently, this development heightens the imperative for Georgia to prepare for ensuing adjustments in its logistical policy.
The underlying motivation driving the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is rooted in aspirations for the restoration of the former Soviet Union, a sentiment that emerged immediately following its dissolution and the announcement thereof. Concurrent with the Belovezhski Agreement of December 8, 1991, which marked the formal disbandment of the USSR, was the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Following a protracted period of hybrid warfare culminating in significant setbacks for Russia, the Russian Federation embarked upon overt military aggression. This trajectory commenced notably with the 2008 conflict against Georgia, which saw the occupation of Georgian territories. Subsequently, the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol transpired, followed by the incursion into the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in 2014.
Even the most advanced states and proponents of liberalism found themselves unprepared to combat the Covid-19 pandemic within the confines of liberal ideology, resorting to lockdown measures as a means to navigate the crisis. Rather than adopting a wartime economic footing, governments transitioned to what can be termed a "prison economy." Lockdowns, infusion of capital into the economy, and other interventions emerged from a non-liberal toolkit. Departures from liberal and globalist principles fostered the perception that success lay in isolation. Furthermore, widespread disregard for post-World War II norms and international legal standards created a temptation to resort to military intervention.
The surge in left-wing ideologies within Western developed nations, allowed Javier Milei, libertarian president of Argentina, to state at the Forum – “Western world is in danger”. Georgia, undergoing a rigorous process of transformation, characterized by a political and economic environment that is notably eclectic, would be prudent to heed this warning. The preamble of the Georgian Constitution articulates the collective desire of its citizens to establish a democratic social order, economic freedom, and a legal and social state. Within this framework, the notion of a social state stands as a foundational tenet championed by social-democratic parties, while the principle of economic freedom traces its roots to liberalism, emphasizing a free-market economy, the sanctity of private property, and judicious economic regulation. It is noteworthy that Georgia has veered off its natural developmental trajectory twice due to interventions by social-democrats and communists.

• Jibuti M. (2020) COVID-19-is pandemiis gavlena municipalut biujetebsa da shemosavlebze Sakartveloshi,Tbilisi. [Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Municipal Budgets and Revenues in Georgia, Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Georgian Municipalities. Tbilisi.] in Georgian
• Jibuti M. (2020) Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Municipal Budgets and Revenues in Georgia// Tbilisi
• „Preparing for Disease X“ https://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting-2024/sessions/preparing-for-a-disease-x/
• Goldin M. (2024) A Panel of Healthcare Experts Discussed ‘Disease X’ at Davos. But it’s Only a Hypothetical Illness https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-disease-x-davos-world-economic-forum-496804566435 , January 19.
• Prioritizing Diseases for Research and Development in Emergency Contexts. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=3.+Prioritizing+diseases+for+research+and+development+in+emergency+contexts&hl=de&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart
• https://www.who.int/publications
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• Milei J.(2024) https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2024/01/special-address-by-javier-milei-president-of-argentina/, Jenuary18.

Keywords: Davos-Klosters World Economic Forum, Disease X, narrative instead of theory, disinformation, eclectic politics.
JEL Codes: P24, P41, P44, P48