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Should Businesses Withdraw From ‘Davos in the Desert?’

October 16, 2018, 5:23 PM UTC

Business leaders are wondering whether to withdraw from the ‘Davos in the Desert’ conference following the disappearance and suspected death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

At Fortune’s Global Forum in Toronto on Tuesday, international economist Dambisa Moyo and international relations expert and managing partner of FutureMap Parag Khanna shared their opinions on the matter with Fortune’s own Nina Easton.

Moyo said that value, morality, and truth are principles that still matter in business — especially when it comes to recruiting new talent to your company.

“Companies are being required to take bigger stands,” she said. “Society is now expecting corporations and institutions to take big steps forward.”

Khanna, on the other hand, explained that investment is the way to create change in societies, so it would be a mistake for business executives to pull out from the upcoming Saudi conference. “The way change happens, and the extent to which global countries can influence international societies, is not by backing away from them,” Khanna said.

Khanna and Moyo both emphasized that capital investment is an important part of furthering societal progress. Culture is shaped from the bottom up, they said, and Western businesses can influence it by providing investment and creating opportunities.