The Davos Disconnect: Out Of Touch With Americans & The World?
The Word Economic Forum in Davos — or as Vox’s Zeeshan Aleem called it “the ultimate club for establishment elites” — is sometimes mocked for being out of touch with reality. America’s leading tech services were a focus of attacks from some of the Davos elite, with some investors and executives calling criticizing tech companies as “obstacles to innovation,” “addictive” and “not good for” people. The attacks on leading technology companies missed the mark in two-ways:
First, American and global consumers respect and admire technology services brands and products. Wired highlighted a new survey that found among Americans, “75 percent of those surveyed said they trusted the tech industry to ‘do what is right,’ a percentage that has remained nearly unchanged for five years.” Additionally, a new survey asking people to rank brands by perceived “purpose” found “Goodwill, the charity group, tops the ranking,” but was immediately followed by leading American technology services. This is consistent with global consumers’ views with leading technology services topping WPP and Kantar Millward Brown’s Top 100 global brands.
Second, across the globe, leading technology services are driving development solutions — the actual subject that’s supposed to be discussed at Davos. As Michael Kende, a senior fellow at the Internet Society has argued, “A key facilitator to the development of an Internet economy, for existing industries and new players, are Internet platforms. These platforms can be businesses in their own right, however their significance is in enabling the emergence of new services and applications.”
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Despite Out-of-Touch Davos Attacks, Consumers Trust Leading Tech Services More Than Other Industries, And Entrepreneurs Witness The Benefits First-Hand
Wired Reports That Leading Tech Services Have Retained Americans’ Trust Even In An Era Of Eroding Faith In Institutions. “But as Americans’ trust in nearly every institution dissipates, one industry seems insulated: Tech. That’s right, Americans still trust tech companies. Specifically, 75 percent of those surveyed said they trusted the tech industry to “do what is right,” a percentage that has remained nearly unchanged for five years. According to the poll, tech is the most trusted industry in America.” (Jessi Hempel, “At Davos, Big Tech Is Waiting For Its Grace Period To Run Out,” Wired, 1/27/18)
Harvard Business Professor John Deighton Says That As Of 2016, The Advertising-Supported Internet Ecosystem Provides 4.1 Million Direct Jobs. “The 2016 study finds that 4.1 million people owe their jobs directly to the advertising-supported internet ecosystem, and when compared to the two earlier studies we find that compound annual growth has accelerated from 18.5 percent to 19.6 percent, as seen in the following table.” (John Deighton, “Economic Value Of The Advertising-Supported Internet Ecosystem,” Interactive Advertising Bureau, 1/17)
Leading Tech Services Provide A Platform For Global Economic Development, Contrary To Assertions From Davos Elites
The Internet Society’s Senior Fellow Michael Kende Argues The Internet Has Provided A Platform For Marginalized People To Connect With Economic Opportunities. “The benefits the Internet can deliver are clear and well documented. At low cost, and at scale, the Internet has empowered historically marginalized people, including those in regional environments and in conflict zones, with the ability to create and finance businesses, to collect payments, and to receive and disseminate knowledge.” (Michael Kende, “Promoting The African Internet Economy,” The Internet Society, 11/22/17)
Project DisCo Notes The Internet Sector Is Growing Its Research And Development Spend Faster Than Other Industries, Despite George Soros’ Assertion That Tech Services Are “Obstacles To Innovation. “Given the sweeping nature of the charge that the Internet is being overrun by monopolists, it is helpful to step back and look at the big picture, lest one miss the forest for the trees. In stagnant markets under the grip of dominant players, one would not expect to find robust investment, huge shares of revenue aimed at research and development, and dynamic entry of new competitors. Online investment is at its highest levels in over a decade, and the Internet sector is growing its research and development spend faster than other industries. These macro indicators point to a highly competitive market.” (Daniel O’Connor, “No, Every Big Internet Company Is Not A Monopoly,” Disruptive Competition Project, 12/16/16)
Jordan’s Queen Rania Used Davos To Announce A New Tech Sector Partnership To Facilitate A Learning Platform For Children Across The Middle East And North Africa. “The Queen made the announcement during an event hosted by Google on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, which was attended by His Majesty King Abdullah II. Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, was also present. Developed with the support of a USD 3 million grant from Google.org complemented with engagement from Googlers to provide product design expertise, the platform comes as an expansion of Edraak, the leading Arabic massive open online courses platform for adult learners. The new school-learners Edraak platform will offer free online open educational resources, generating much-needed Arabic digital educational content that meets the learning needs of Arab students from kindergarten to grade 12 (K-12) and their educators.” (Office of Queen Rania, “Queen Rania Announces Launch Of Edraak’s Free Online Platform For School Learners in Davos,” 1/24/18)
The Next Web’s Tom Jackson Reports That Leading U.S. Tech Services Are Central To Providing Connectivity To Developing Economies In Africa. “This ‘widespread access to connectivity’ is the key issue when it comes to Africa, and one US tech giants are focusing strongly on.” (Tom Jackson, “Why US Tech Giants Are Betting On Africa,” The Next Web, 6/29/16)
McKinsey Global Institute In 2011: Over The Past Five Years, The Internet’s Contribution To GDP In Advanced Economies Doubled To 21 Percent. “In the advanced economies we studied, the Internet accounted for 10 percent of GDP growth over the past 15 years, and its influence is growing. Over the past five years, the Internet’s contribution to GDP growth in these countries doubled to 21 percent. If we include the large, emerging economies of China, India, and Brazil, the Internet contributed 7 percent of growth over the past 15 years and 11 percent over the past five. In countries such as Turkey, Malaysia, and Mexico, where both Internet usage and GDP per capita fall within the medium range on the global scale, the Internet has also contributed substantially to economic growth, though to a lesser degree than in mature economies. Research currently underway suggests the Internet drove roughly half as much GDP growth in these countries—still a substantial amount with the potential to increase significantly. However, there is sizable variation among countries, including those at relatively similar stages of development, leaving tremendous room for further Internet-related growth.” (James Manyika And Charles Roxburgh, “The Great Transformer: The Impact Of The Internet On Economic Growth And Prosperity,” McKinsey Global Institute, 10/11)