Welcome to this week’s update from the World Economic Forum.

Most shared this week

Which countries have taken IT to heart? And how is the age of ‘big data’ changing industries and lives?

Imagine a million electric cars. On Earth Day 2014, three ideas for making cities of the future greener.

On Forum:Blog

Re-inventing Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on ‘womenomics’ and his country’s role in the world, as President Obama visits Asia.

Many markets, one corporate culture? Tiger Shan on how China’s multinationals are balancing the values of East and West.

Today’s shock media trend: optimism. Newspapers have sensationalised their own fate, says Lara Setrakian.

Is German luck running out? Michael Heise says the Eurozone’s biggest economy is starting to look peaky.

Why ‘big data’ is a big deal. It saves public money and boosts profits. Plus, in our Global Information Technology series, putting sensors in your supply chain, and crossing Europe’s technology divide.

The World Economic Forum in the news

The global digital divide is getting worse, according to our Global Information Technology Report. (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Newsweek, Voice of America).

Network readiness? India (Livemint, Business Standard, ZeeNews) and Australia (The Australian, CIO) have slipped on the Forum’s index. Better news for Pakistan (Dawn, Pakistan Today) and the Philippines (ABS-CBN, Rappler), and better yet for Singapore (Business Times).

Engineers make great CEOs. “Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, has an engineering PhD under his belt.” (INSEAD)

More people are predicting our science fiction future, like the Forum with its Emerging Tech list. (New York Times)

A Davos photo-shoot for men’s handbags. Louis Vuitton’s models were not registered for the Annual Meeting. Real participants use the bag provided.

On our reading list

Africa’s rising middle classes can be found in cities like Abuja. But their rise is precarious.

Heresy in macro-economics! Do low interest rates cause deflation, and high interest rates cause inflation?

Are economists the new rock stars? Thomas Piketty tops US bestseller charts. The New Republic applauds, Foreign Affairs is coolly impressed, and Bloomberg dismissive (but the Economist gives their review a bad review!).

“Inequality reduces growth,” affirms Piketty enthusiast Martin Wolf. (But worldwide improvements in education have yet to level the global playing field.)

World government? Academics think it’s possible. But don’t hold your breath. It might take 800 years.

Gabriel García Márquez died, but his foundation lives on.

Have something for our reading list? Drop me a line.

Coming up next week

Big data needs global-sized IT support. Next week we’ll be publishing our report on the stuff that makes the Internet work – digital infrastructure. How can policy-makers ensure that the world stays online? That’s next week on Forum:Blog.

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Author: Adrian Monck is Managing Director of Public Engagement at the World Economic Forum.

Image: A man stands next to the logo of the World Economic Forum. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann