Avenir Suisse’s first Think Tank Summit

The mobility of factors of production, major improvements in information and transportation technology are rapidly changing the nature of local, regional and global commerce. The movement of goods and people has increased significantly since the end of World War II. Economic globalization is, however, not a linear process. The recent emergence of populist political forces in the West is reversing some benefits of closer global integration. Globalization and inequality are important in explaining the proximate causes of Brexit and Donald Trump’s election victory. These current developments are a profound challenge for Western democracies. Despite the perceived re-nationalization of politics, the issues of economic policy in a globalized world can only be solved at the international level. This holds even more for free trade and migration, the two main topics of Avenir Suisse’s first Think Tank Summit held on 27-28 January 2017 at the Zurich Airport. The international summit offered think-tankers from the USA, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland the opportunity to analyze the changing geopolitical framework. As emphasized by Avenir Suisse’s director, Peter Grünenfelder, at the official opening, “the current international political developments pose a major challenge for liberal democracies and economies. Switzerland, in particular, would be affected by a new protectionist era.”

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