It’s a pity there were fewer influential world leaders than in previous years at Davos this week at the World Economic Forum, and not only because so many of the risks that are top of mind right now for delegates are political in nature. The official theme of this year’s forum, “Globalization 4.0,” focused on the fourth industrial revolution and how the world will respond to mass job losses triggered by automation and artificial intelligence. Surely the private sector must share in the burden, but the shortage of participation by governments in the debate here felt inexcusable given the stakes. Livelihoods are on the line, and the ripple effects on families and communities won’t be slowed by empty talk about the need to reskill the labor force. The Davos set learned this the last time around, when an inadequate response to the labor-market effects of global trade paved the way for the populist wave that prompted much soul-searching among Davos regulars. Enjoy this content in the new Quartz app Get the app Thanks for being a loyal reader. You’ve hit your monthly article limit. Become a member to continue reading and support our journalism

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who called the world to attention last month at the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference, brought her stark message to the World Economic Forum this week, telling the global elites who converged on Davos, Switzerland, that she would hold them accountable for not doing more to stop an unfolding environmental catastrophe.

At a packed luncheon sponsored by Salesforce on Thursday (Jan. 24), invited guests heard from a panel that included the primatologist Jane Goodall and musicians Bono and Will.i.am. But it was Thunberg, seated at a table near the front, who got the last word. Salesforce founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff had come down from the stage and offered her the microphone to give the delegates a young person’s view. She did not mince words.

“We are facing [an] existential crisis, the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced,” the 16-year-old said. “If everyone is guilty, then no one is to blame, and someone is to blame… Some people, some companies, some decision makers in particular know exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money, and I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

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