My ‘Biased’​ Hearing From Globalization 4.0

This article was first posted in Linkedin Posts on February 1st, 2019

There were over 180 sessions in WEF’s Globalization 4.0 themed Davos meetings this year. I listened to 15-16 of them on-line and tried to understand the common emerging themes around globalization, EMs, SMEs, and sustainable development.

Most of the sessions were fulfilling in terms of getting the gist of the theme; but I could not help but notice some commonalities between the panelists. These commonalities might cause biasedness in understanding the real cause of some of the problems.

So here is what I heard, saw and observed based on my ‘biasedness’ around EMs, SMEs, and sustainable development:


· Business people, especially the ones from hi-tech companies are more optimistic than other panelists

· Academia, scientists and NGOs are more pessimistic than others

· Westerners are gloomier than the representatives of the East (except for Canadians!)

· Females and youth are more direct in expressing their resentments with the current system

What is happening to globalization?

There were a lot of discussions regarding to globalization as the theme of the meeting was ‘Globalization 4.0’. Is globalization speeding up or is it slowing down? Is it good or bad? How is it changing? Why is it changing?

Despite the setbacks, it is not going away; but recent political and social events are showing that there is demand for it change.

And yet, there is no consensus on how it should change. Different participants defined the change that is needed as:

· Transition

· Slow-down

· Revision

· Revolution

· Paradigm shift

· A new narrative, rationale

Why is it not liked?

There are huge problems that are causing unrest at the social level. Latest populist political choices and trade disputes are the result of this unrest. The most voiced reasons as to why it is not as popular are that globalization is:

· Not Inclusive

· Creating inequalities at different levels

· Bad for climate and biodiversity

· Hollowing out middle-income jobs

· Creating distrust among people

· Disenfranchising middle classes from the future

Globalization + 4.0: Do we need new institutions with new mindsets?

New technologies and digitalization are changing the rules of competition by the power of speed. Inclusivity and equality problems are going to become worse if new institutions are not socially innovated.

New institutions/mindsets are needed especially for better education, governance and probably trade.

Most prominent problem is the skill-shortage due to change of technology. Areas that need to be addressed for inclusivity and equality:

· Skill shortage and income stagnation of middle-income groups

· Skill gap in data processing between private and public sector

· Public and private partnership in education for re-skilling people

· Better measuring systems for the economy that focuses on outcomes rather outputs

As a side note, it was kind of puzzling to hear that IMF and OECD agree on everything, especially when main themes were diversity and new frameworks in economic thinking…

Collaboration, platforms, stakeholders…

New models are vital to include people into the new economy. As interconnected revolutions on economic, technological, social and political fronts are going on, projected winners are:

· Companies which can offer customized, regionalized and personalized products and services; not standardized ones

· Brands that have a point of view and proposed value

· Governments that build metrics on intergenerational data and collective benefit creation; not just on production and the GDP growth rate

· Leaders who act on responsibility to the world and create value for all; not just for the shareholders

· Collaborators at the micro-micro level

· Emerging markets with the capability to leapfrog

· Emerging markets which can create leveling field for SMEs

· SMEs, which can move faster and more flexible than bigger companies

· Institutions (both companies and governments), which use the power of diversity (female, young, immigrants)

· Companies and countries, which can leverage on sustainable development (or ‘green is the new gold’ as the Chinese say)

· Education systems that teach students how to navigate between all the information that is out there rather than a curriculum from the 20thcentury

Concepts and quotes that are inspirational:

· Well-being budget of New Zealand

· Electronic World Trading Platform of Jack Ma

· Trashing toxic masculinity

· ‘I want you to act as if the house was on fire; because it is…’ by Greta Thunberg

· ‘Putting people in refugee camps is not ethical, not sustainable; it is not conducive to human growth. It kills the human spirit’ by Mohammed Hassan Mohamud

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *