‘We Are All Stakeholders of Our Global Future’: Klaus Schwab, Founder of the World Economic Forum, Talks Change and Progress

"Big issues in the world cannot be solved by governments alone"

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Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, sat down with TIME to discuss a sweeping vision for a rapidly changing world ahead of this year’s summit, which will begin in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.

“Big issues in the world cannot be solved by governments alone,” Schwab said, speaking with TIME Editor-in-Chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal and National Correspondent Haley Sweetland Edwards in December.

Decades ago, Schwab helped define “stakeholder theory,” which holds that businesses are not only responsible to their shareholders, but also to the wider array of “stakeholders” – employees, governments, customers and others – that it impacts.

“Business has a big role to play. Civil Society has a big role to play. So we are all stakeholders of our global future,” he said.

For Schwab, securing the future requires that we embrace change, rather than shy away from it.

“What today I think is dividing society is the gap between those who embrace change, who look forward, who have a constructive approach to life, who know that we have to adapt our institutions, and those who want to retreat to a ‘good old world,’ which in practice doesn’t anymore exist,” he said

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