The world is at a social, environmental and economic tipping point. Subdued growth, rising in equalities and accelerating climate change provide the context for a backlash against capitalism, globalization, technology, and elites. There is gridlock in the international governance system and escalating trade and geopolitical tensions arefueling uncertainty. This holds back investment and increases the risk of supply shocks: disruptions to global supply chains, sudden price spikes or interruptions in the availbility of key resources.
Persistent weaknesses in the drivers of productivity growth are among the principal culprits. In advanced, emerging and developing economies, productivity growth started slowing in 2000 and decelerated further after the crisis. Between 2011 and 2016, "total factor productivity growth" - or the combined growth of imputs—grew by 0.3 percent and labour, and outputs - grew by 0.3 percentin advanced economies and 1.3 percent inemerging and developing economies.
The financial crisis added to this deceleration. Investments are undermined by uncertainty, low demand and tighter credit conditions. Many of the structural reforms designed to revive productivity that were promised by policy-makers did not materialize.
Governments must better anticipate the unintended consequences of technological integration and implement complementary social policies that support populations through the Four Industrial Revolution. Economies with strong innovation capability must improve their talent base and the functioning of their labour markets.
Adaption is critical. We need a well-functioning labour market that protects workers, not jobs. Advanced economies needto develop their skills base and tackle rigidities in their labour markets. As innovation capacity grows, emerging economies need to strengthen their skills andlabour market to minimize the risks of negative social spillovers.
Sustainable economic growth remains the surest route out of poverty and a core driverof human development. For the past decade,growth has been weak and remains belowpotential in most developing countries, seriously hampering progress on several ofthe UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs）.
The world is not on track to meet any of theSDGS. Least developed countries have missed the target of 7 percent growth every year since 2015. Extreme poverty reduction is decelerating. 3.4 billion people - or 46 percent of the world's population - lived on less than US$5, 50 a day and struggled to meet basic needs. After years of steady decline, hunger has increased and now affects 826 million up from 784 million in 2015. A total of 20 percentof Africals population is undernourished. The "zero hunger" target will almost certainly bemissed.
In the mid-1800s a caterpillar, the size of a human finger, began spreading across the northeastern U.S. This appearance of the tomato hornworm was followed by terrifying reports of fatal poisonings and aggressive behavior towards people. In July 1869 newspapers across the region posted warnings about the insect, reporting that a girlhad died after a run-in with the creature. Thatfall a local newspaper printed an account froma doctor. The physician warned that the caterpillar was "as poisonous as a rattlesnake" and said he knew of three deathslinked to its venom.
Although the hornworm is a voracious eaterthat can strip a tomato plant in a matter ofdays, it is, in fact, harmless to humans. Entomologists had known the insect to be innocuous for decades, and his claims were widely mocked by experts. So why did the rumors persist even though the truth was readily available? People are social learners. We develop most of our beliefs from the testimony of trusted others such as our teachers, parents and friends. This social transmission of knowledge is at the heart of culture and science. But as the tomato hornworm story shows us, our ability has a gaping vulnerability: sometimes the ideas wespread are wrong.
Over the past five years the ways in which the social transmission of knowledge can fail us have come into sharp falls. Misinformation (错误信息) shared on social media has fueled an epidemic of false belief. The same basic mechanisms that spread fear about the tomato hornworm have now intensified - and, in some cases, led to - a profound public mistrust of basic societal institution.
“Misinformation” may seem like a misnomer false beliefs are initially driven by acts of disinformation (虚假信息), which are deliberately deceptive and intended to cause harm. But part of what makes disinformation so effective in an age of social media is the fact that people who are exposed to it share it widely among friends and peers who trust them, with no intention of misleading anyone. Social media transforms disinformation intomisinformation.
Many social scientists have tried to understand how false beliefs persist by modeling the spread of ideas as a contagion. In a contagion model, ideas are like viruses that go from mind to mind. You start with a representing individuals, and edges, which represent social connections. You seed an idea in one “mind" and see how it spreads.