The big themes that will drive the world into the next 10-years are:
- Changes in the globally connected economy.
- Climate change.
- Technology: automation, AI, data.
- Changes in the demographic dividend.
We are the fag end of the phase in the evolution of the world that was driven by emergence of the globally connected economy and the transformation of the world into a place where everyone had some degree of exposure to digital technologies.
The two-years of COVID-19 has demonstrated the vulnerability of interlinked global supply chains and the big countries are quietly moving the pieces to work around problems caused by it. This is not going to be an overnight change. The work that is being started now will show up as results much later, at least 5-years in my estimate. Till then, nobody is going to disrupt most of how things function now, but it will change drastically after that. Those who are not planning for this change will be caught out very badly.
The place of China is the global marketplace is big piece of the puzzle. The urbanization and wealth creation in China is primarily driven by their ability to supply the demand in other parts of the world. The primary threat to China is not from the military of nation that is their enemy, but from countries shutting off access to their markets to China. China’s own domestic demand, while being quite huge, is not enough to sustain their capacity. Which is also why China invests more into other countries that can keep the access locked in.
Climate change is the joker in the pack for everyone as we just do not know how it will all play out eventually. Weather patterns affect everything — air, food, water — on the ground and it is a lottery where any continent or any country is going to wind up at. There are models on predicting what changes this will bring about, but the impact of the changes are anyone’s guess. This is one of those things where it is not going to be taken seriously till it hits home hard. And by the time it hits home hard, it will be too late to start working towards mitigating it.
The nature of work and how we work are rapidly changing. How we train our new generation, how we upskill our existing generation etc. are aspects that cannot be ignored. Any edge or advantage that exists for nations are unlikely to be carried over in its current version over to the 2030s. Stumbling into that is going to drive millions into poverty.
Looking at the issues that make headlines in India these days it is impossible to see a clear strategy or leadership that will take India into a position of strength by 2030. It is deeply worrying.