International Glocalities Research Highlights Significant Societal Distrust in the World Economic Forum

On May 22-26 the 2022 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is held in the Swiss town Davos. This will be the first global in-person leadership event since the beginning of the pandemic bringing together nearly 2,500 leaders and experts in politics, business, civil society, and media from around the world. The topics that will be discussed among others include securing economic recovery, fostering global and regional cooperation, safeguarding climate, food, and nature, and driving industry transformation.

Given the global issues that have arisen during the last years, rebuilding trust will play a central role in the discussions of the 2022 forum. But how does the international general public perceive the World Economic Forum and how much trust do they have in it?

This is the question that Glocalities, an international research agency, answers with the use of its 7th annual wave surveying 25 countries and 26000 respondents into values and socio-political trends. The survey that was conducted in February and March 2022, amongst others, asked respondents to indicate if they have trust in the “World Economic Forum in Davos - International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation”.

Distrust in WEF Reflects the Larger Trust Crisis in Advanced Economies

The results highlight a significant lack of trust in the WEF in Davos. Globally, 39% of participants don’t trust the World Economic Forum, in comparison to the 27% who have trust in it. The rest (34%) don’t know whether to trust WEF or not. In addition, there are certain characteristics that people who distrust WEF share in common such as feeling let down by society and being pessimistic, worrying about oppression from the state, the gap between the rich and the poor, corruption, and freedom of expression. They do not feel proud of their country and value freedom, being independent and imaginative. They resonate with the Rebel archetype, which stands for being free and independent, and score much lower on the Ruler archetype which stands for power and control. Moreover, they have very low levels of trust in institutions in general, including media, parliament, multinational companies, government, capitalism, and socialism.

The survey data clearly show that trust in WEF is closely related to the larger crisis of trust. People who don’t trust WEF often live in advanced economies in Europe, such as Spain, France, Switzerland (where the WEF meeting is held), Italy, Germany, Belgium, the UK, Romania, and Austria. In addition, the results highlight that the discussion of whether to trust WEF or not is strongly male-dominated since 43% of women are undecided in comparison to 26% of men. Among men, 43% have no trust in WEF, and 32% do have trust. Among females, 34% have no trust in WEF, and 23% have trust.

The group of people who have trust in the WEF is more prominent among the values segment of Achievers. They feel attracted to the elitist ruler archetype, which stands for power, progress, taking responsibility, and control. They focus on networking, advancing their careers, like to stand out, believe in technological progress, are interested in politics, feel involved in their community, and are proud of their country. They worry most about climate change and pollution, child abuse, and extreme poverty. They express high levels of trust in institutions in general, and especially in science, education, democracy, the United Nations, banks, and ordinary people. The highest levels of trust in WEF are found in developing economies such as India, Phillippines, and China.

Today Reuters published the article "Back to Snow: World Economic Forum reverts to January for 2023". The Glocalities survey results are contrasting the evaluations of the WEF participants mentioned in the article, who mostly seem to fit the values profile of the people from our survey who have trust in Davos.

You can find the link to the Reuters article here: https://www.reuters.com/business/world-economic-forum-reverts-january-2023-davos-meeting-2022-05-26/

The Glocalities 2022 data make it possible to delve into the trust crisis much deeper, at the international or country level. For more information about the survey, contact <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Martijn Lampert

Research Director

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+31 20 589 83 70

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