Globalisation was the central theme at this week?s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the world?s politicians, business leaders and intellectuals gathered to discuss the concept of global responsibility in business.
Following intense discussion on its effects, the Forum decided that globalisation was an extremely positive phenomenon and should not be ignored by governments, international organisations or the worldwide business community.
In a statement, it said: "Let's avoid unproductive and negative attacks on globalisation, and focus on its challenges and opportunities.?
Klaus Schwab, founder and president of the Forum, elaborated: ? We are in some ways in the end phase of globalisation, but we don?t yet have the necessary structure and instruments to really deal with this globally." But Bill Gates, Microsoft?s chairman and chief executive, who was one of the keynote speakers at the conference, said that globalisation was being driven by strong PC usage, the proliferation of information technology, and rapid Internet adoption.
As a result, he predicted that by next year, vendors would put more serious effort behind distributing music and books, including the first ebooks that capitalise on improvements in screen technology and software, in a purely digital fashion.
But he also emphasised that growth and opportunities in the technology industry were not simply a US phenomena, noting that PC shipments in some European markets were actually outstripping those of the US, and in some cases represented a 20 per cent rise on last year.
And he gave the French government a slap on the back for liberalising encryption controls, underscoring the need for a global encryption standard to support the momentum behind snowballing electronic commerce sales.
According to a survey released at the Forum, some four out of 10 chief executives of global companies said they expected more than 10 per cent of their revenues to come from ebusiness in the next five years, even though it only represents five per cent of their business today.
But many were worried by the arrival of non traditional start ups such as Amazon.com, which, they claimed, posed a ?significant competitive threat? to their industries.
Over 2,000 participants, including keynote speakers, US Vice President Al Gore, South African President, Nelson Mandela, and German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, attended the conference.
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