What must be done: richer nations should make systematic effort to defuse tensions, ease dialogue and improve economic opportunity in the developing world.
The rich and powerful cannot ignore the voices of the destitute and the disenfranchised. Globalization has made the world smaller, decreasing the sense of distance between the haves and the have-nots. As a result it's no longer possible (and let's regard this as a good thing) to turn a deaf ear to the concerns of the poor. There is clearly a need to increase dialogue between rich and poor nations, and among citizens within nations, if we are to avoid the kinds of conflicts that plagued Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asian in the second half of the last century.
It seems that the prospects for world peace and increased global prosperity can be enhanced by a systematic effort by the developed world to defuse political tensions, facilitate dialogue and improve economic opportunity in the developing world. The need for this approach is becoming increasingly obvious to leaders in government, business and civil society in prosperous nations, and is already being translated into action in international institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and our own World Economic Forum.
Defining moments in human history, like the outbreak of the world wars and terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, make us aware that the world we live in is more complicated - and more fragile - than we had previously assumed. In the aftermath of September 11 we are living, again, in such a confusing and complicated moment. Borrowing from the hard-learned lessons of World War II, and enriching those insights with what we have learned since, it seems clear that we cannot continue to live in a world where the voices of the poor go unheeded, where economic development benefits only the rich and where conflicts is allowed to germinate and grow in a