The theme of this year's Boao Forum for Asia, the 12th since its inception at the turn of the millennium, was common prosperity. Under this overarching theme, discussions focused on food, resources, water, poverty, disease and environmental pollution. The message of the conference was positive. The ongoing economic problems since 2008 were slightly less addressed. The euro zone has not collapsed, the Western financial system has returned to very modest growth, and at least the worst of the crisis seems to be over. Even so, longer-term structural problems remain.
The Asian forum put together delegates from across the world, with a number of high-ranking politicians. However, political leaders were outnumbered by business representatives from food, resource and financial sector companies. In this diverse setting, trying to pin down a common vision of prosperity, and a common route to it, is immensely challenging. Countries, companies and individuals all differ. Finding the common point in the center of all their discussions is not easy.