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Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.)

Redefining Success Global Economic Symposium 2013

Future Challenges Reader Volume 7

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FutureChallenges


Cover Photo: Shazeb Younis


Redefining Success

Future Challenges Reader Volume 7

Contents Foreword

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Success, Happiness and International Development

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From Pakistan to Germany — For a Better Tomorrow

8

End the Unsustainable Plundering of Our Planet

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Sustainability must be global to work

14

Dinner Talk: Religion, No Politics

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GES 2013: My Solutions for the New Bottom Billion

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What I took away from the GES 2013

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Redefining Success: The Story of the Blind Men and the Elephant

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Is there Security and Privacy on the Web?

27

The Future of Europe: A Hub of Innovation

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The Kids Have the Answers

31

Future Challenges Team

34

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Foreword

Foreword

For decades, decision-makers in politics and business have measured success in “hard currency”: the GDP of an economy or the profit of a company have served as the gold standard of their respective welfare. The global economic and financial shakedown which began in 2008 has accelerated the widespread questioning of this traditional measure of success. A new global consensus has emerged around the idea that financial gain is an insufficient criterion for social progress and corporate success. We need new measures of success and concepts which take into account the sustainability and inclusiveness of wealth. We also need to pay more attention to individual fulfillment and happiness. These concepts are notoriously difficult to define and measure and we are still far away from reaching a common understanding of a better model for comprehensive progress. However, in an interconnected world with many transnational problems establishing such a common understanding would come in handy. The Global Economic Symposium (GES) put the question of how to redefine success front and center at its 2013 convening. Founded and organized by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and supported by the Bertelsmann Stiftung as a Strategic Partner, this annual conference brings together politicians, business executives, scientists and activists with different cultural and professional backgrounds. In Kiel on October 1 and 2, 2013, they tried to find new ways to measure whether a society or company is on track to progress. These experts were joined by a group of nine bloggers from different parts of the world – from Poland to Pakistan, from Uganda to the United States. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, these bloggers joined the GES discussions from the start. They interviewed senior decision-makers and challenged established views with their thoughtful questions. Moreover, the bloggers opened up the conference to an online audience by posting blogs and tweeting about the GES’ substance and tone. As a result, they became substantial pillars of conference’s progression and impact. This reader attests to the importance of their work. It provides an overview of their critical assessments of the GES 2013’s deliberations. In several brief accounts of their first-hand experiences at the venue, the bloggers assess whether the conference has really met its original goal and provide new insights on the debate about how to redefine success: Is there a new definition of success that does not apply only to a few wealthy countries but also takes into consideration the needs and perspectives of the developing world? Are there any new ideas or even elaborate concepts about how to combine traditional quantitative indicators of growth with new qualitative ones for progress? Which local or national best practices can be translated to other regions or even to the global stage? Which companies or organizations have a strategy for sustainable and inclusive growth in place? We hope you will enjoy this Future Challenges Reader. Future Challenges is a global network of young authors, activists, academics and observers who work to illustrate the true complexity of our modern world. To get involved with the project, to give feedback on what’s written here, or to check out the other volumes of our reader series please visit www.futurechallenges.org. Thomas Rausch, Bertelsmann Stiftung

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Success, Happiness and International Development

Success, Happiness and International Development Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Dragos C. Costache

Contact Information: tsavatar@gmail.com Dragos is a Romanian freelance writer currently living in Stockholm. His background is in Sociology and Political Science and he is particularly interested in Migration and EU affairs.

The introductory session of the GES in Kiel felt at times like something out of a Hollywood feelgood movie. With a kickoff speech from the Kiel Institute’s President Dennis Snower focusing more on personal achievement and betterment than international growth and trade, it seemed that this gathering of business leaders and academic luminaries was more of a new age retreat for men in suits. And yet the besuited assembly made quite a bit more sense than a hippie retreat and, surprisingly, even had more interesting characters. With a diverse panel ranging from the chairman of Operation HOPE, John Bryant, a man who rose from the streets of South Central LA to become one of the leading voices in the fight against poverty in the US, to Nobel laureate Martti Ahtisaari, the CEO of Deutsche Bank and Nik Gowing of BBC fame, there were often wildly divergent opinions put forth. Even so, there was one common question, the main question of the entire conference – How do we redefine success? Success is an elusive concept to grapple with, one that lends itself easily to that famous definition of pornography, “You’ll know it when you see it”. Yet it seems that we are increasingly reconfiguring our expectations of success to focus on its material trappings to the exclusion of all else. As John Bryant elegantly phrased it, we have come to focus on its by-product – money – rather than on the actual ways of achieving success. This is something that can be seen in all sections of society and that is reflected in the changes in our culture. Yet, as sociological studies have shown time and again, an obsession with material trappings leads to a decrease in our general level of happiness. That’s because – and please bear with me if this sounds a bit new-age-y – happiness by material gain is fleeting and illusionary. Accumulation of wealth can indeed lead to happiness and personal fulfillment but it’s happiness of a transitory kind, eroded by the ebbs and flows of the economy and tainted by the inevitable gains our competitors make. So what do we put in its place? The solutions vary. As Bryant said, money might not be everything, but it’s a great start for many of the working poor. Perhaps a more inclusive approach to our own happiness is suggested by Prof. Snower who sees it not just in terms of success, but of personal improvement, increased awareness of the world around us, mutual respect and giving back from our

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Success, Happiness and International Development

own privileged position. Perhaps what is needed is a “theology of economics” as Robert Johnson argues, since economics is too much concerned with the ‘hows’ of accumulating capital and not so much with the ‘whys’. Yet one thing is certain: Capitalism and democracy have served us quite well for the past two hundred years. The advances we have made in both wealth and liberty have been incredible. But we do need to find a way to make wealth work for everybody, a way to make all markets grow without take-from-the-rich rabble-rousing or oppression of the poor by the wealthy. As Bertrand Russell put it, “The only thing that can redeem mankind is cooperation”. And that is what the 2013 GES is all about.

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From Pakistan to Germany — For a Better Tomorrow

From Pakistan to Germany — For a Better Tomorrow Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Shahzeb Younis

Contact Information: shahzeb_younas@hotmail.com Shahzeb is a young photographer and business student aspiring to initiate photography related social entrepreneurship projects in the future.

Growing up in a tiny underdeveloped village in Pakistan where even the availability of electricity was a blessing, I saw the best and the worst of life at a very tender age. The people around me were extremely poor and hard working. My family owned some agricultural land, which was taken care of by farmers who were like a second family to me. Every day I would play cricket with their children and listen to stories of animals running away from the farms. Unlike me, my friends could not afford education, so I would tell them the stories I’d heard at school in exchange. Time passed and I moved to Karachi for college. But the friends I had made stayed in the village, and are likely to remain there forever due to lack of opportunities and finance. The only things they dream about are having a proper place to live and enough food to eat. But so what if they are poor? Don’t they have the right to get an education and get ahead just like me? They do; the Global Economic Symposium 2013 in Kiel, Germany, made me believe this. I met people there living very successful lives but still worried about increasing population, poverty, and many other of the world’s pressing issues. The speakers at the sessions I attended restored my faith in a better tomorrow. I witnessed people who have taken on the responsibility of saving this world from its worst. I attended sessions on trade, poverty, economics, inequality, and other important global issues. Although eliminating the problems is not possible, we can always try to prevent them from become even worse. During my short stay in Europe, I realized that it is relatively easy for poor people in Germany to earn a living simply by exhibiting their talents in public. In developing countries like Pakistan, talented people are appreciated, but through words not deeds. At first, I thought of the GES as just another talking shop where people would make contacts to further their own personal ambitions and then leave without any planning for a better world. But I was very wrong. All the sessions I attended at the GES 2013 were more focused on discussing solutions rather than problems - which is not usually the case at conferences. From the CEOs of organizations to the president of Operation HOPE, all of the well-seasoned speakers I listened to had very strong, very promising ideas to present.

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From Pakistan to Germany — For a Better Tomorrow

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From Pakistan to Germany — For a Better Tomorrow

To implement solutions to global problems, where the people need to act locally, the leaders must think and act globally — just like the leaders I met at the Global Economic Symposium 2013. Because we need to. The GES opening and closing plenary sessions were both focused on “redefining success,” which I believe is the best first step for implementing any of the solutions to the world’s problems.

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End the Unsustainable Plundering of Our Planet

End the Unsustainable Plundering of Our Planet Sunday, 6 October 2013

Mubatsi Asinja Habati

Contact Information: hasinjam@gmail.com Mubatsi is a young Ugandan journalist and environmental blogger who reported for The Independent, Uganda's premier weekly news magazine for 4 years. He currently works with Minibuzz, a daily current affairs TV show, which airs on Uganda’s most viewed television station, NTV.

In ancient Greece, a symposium was a drinking party. Wealthy Greek men would gather on such occasions to debate and wine and dine. Today a symposium means much more than just carousing and revelry. They are meetings meant to generate solutions to the world’s pressing problems. One of them - the Global Economic Symposium (GES) - has just ended in Kiel, Germany, with a call for less talk and more action. When I got an invitation to attend the 2013 GES, which is a big deal in Europe, I was excited. It was an opportunity for me to hear from top-notch academics, economists, politicians, business people, Nobel laureates, students, and journalists all gathered in one thinking room. The GES was a formal meeting where specialists delivered short addresses on particular topics and participants mapped out the kind of future they wanted for a world afflicted by plunder, poverty amidst plenty, climate change, and crumbling economies. Finding solutions to these and many other challenges was its prime objective. But was the symposium successful? Did it achieve what it set out to achieve? In trying to answer this question, I can’t help but think of the words of Professor Dennis Snower, president of the Kiel Institute of the World Economy. He said, “We plunder our planet to get material wealth that fails to materialize.” The exploitation of the world’s resources without considering future generations has resulted in problems like climate change. In my main session, “Preventing a Climate Catastrophe,” the need for global cooperation to reverse or halt the effects of climate change was clear. Several speakers all pointed out that no single country can fight climate change without the cooperation of others because climate change is a universal concern. Climate change is caused by human activities, exploiting resources in the quest for happiness and success. But if we continue plundering the earth without pausing to reflect on the consequences of our actions, future generations will suffer even more severe climate change. So there is a need for the sustainable use of resources and wealth creation. Only in this way can we achieve sustainable development. Countries should embrace policies that reduce their carbon footprint and emissions. This can be accomplished through use of renewable energy like wind or solar power. The destruction of tropi-

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End the Unsustainable Plundering of Our Planet

Photo by the author

Photo by the author

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End the Unsustainable Plundering of Our Planet

cal rain forests like the Amazon affects biodiversity and global climate. Leaders should make shortterm concessions to achieve long-term gains in protecting the environment – to ensure that it will be good enough for our children and our children’s children. Climate analysts say Africa and other poor areas will be disproportionately affected by climate change, even though the people of Africa bear less responsible for causing the problem than the rest of the world. Although Africa was underrepresented at the symposium, the challenges discussed there affect it too. Are those who are more affected by climate change willing to contribute more to end it? It is important that indigenous voices and solutions also be heard and are given a chance. The “Cooperation Game” is a game developed by a professor at the Kiel Institute of the World Economy that shows how high-level climate negotiations can do a lot to prevent climate change. It really should be popularized because it could make a significant contribution to combating climate change. The time has now come to make low-carbon economies credible. It is the young generation, our children’s generation and future generations, which will really suffer the effects of climate change. We must prevent the unsustainable plundering of the planet for the good of future generations.

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Sustainability must be global to work

Sustainability must be global to work Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Juan Arellano

Contact Information: juan.arellano@gmail.com Juan Arellano is a blogger and editor for Global Voices in Spanish. He first became interested in new social media in 2001 when he started to blog and in 2004 together with some friends he developed "BlogsPerú", the first blog directory in Peru. Subsequently he joined Global Voices and now writes for other websites as well including "Información Cívica" (Civic Information), "Periodismo Ciudadano" (Citizen Journalism) and "Distintas Latitudes". His main areas of interest are: citizen journalism, content curation, open data, e-government, environmental issues and social conflict. Juan graduated as a systems analyst and programmer in the late 70s and worked in that field for many years in Peruvian public administration.

Should it be of interest to people in the third world when multinational companies redefine their objectives and change their strategies? At first glance the answer is no. But if you think about it, you realize that yes, it should be. Of very great and pressing interest. After all, in a pre-globalized world, the decisions taken by first world countries had major repercussions on the rest of the planet. And now the decisions taken by large corporations in our globalized world have broadly similar consequences. The thing is that third world countries are not attractive to transnational corporations as emerging markets but rather as a ready source of cheap labor, and sometimes because of the fiscal benefits they offer in attempts to lure big players to their shores. Moreover, on the whole, environmental legislation in these countries is less rigorous and demanding while governments in this part of the world tend to be more “corruptible”. So with this in mind, the importance of a session on “Generating winning strategies for sustainable societies” that took place today at the Global Economic Symposium in Kiel becomes much more obvious. I just want to highlight a few things among the many discussed. For example, they spoke about the cost of sustainability for companies, in the original meaning of the term which referred to the role sustainability plays in terms of company operations. Sustainability in terms of the company’s brand is a much more recent concept. Once again, thinking from the basic premise of costbenefit is the easy way, but in the wake of the series of PR crises various companies have weathered, consumer impacts on the name or brand of the company can also be seen in terms of loss or gain. They also spoke about innovation at the corporate level. We have concepts like outsourcing, for example, which have been on the agenda of companies and even governments for the past 20 years. However, this is not something that is popular among the working classes in developed countries

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Sustainability must be global to work

Photo by the author

who are guarded and suspicious and associate innovation with the loss of jobs. At least for them, of course: what happens is that the jobs go to other side, generally to third world countries. The question that must be asked is how can we talk about sustainability on a global level when the pressure of large populations in poor countries is so strong that neither governments nor the public care too much about cutting down an entire forest if this allows them to feed their families? Finally I want to highlight one of the panel’s last thoughts which was that we must put people at the center of development. This links in to what other speakers have been saying in different sessions about seeking wellbeing. True enough, only wellbeing is not purely economic. We must not forget its other ingredients, one of which must be values. And from my third world point of view I can only say that, okay, it’s great that academics and everyone else are talking about these things, but what are the companies – transnational or not – really thinking? Will they adopt these proposals? Will they stop seeking profit as their sole objective? And even if they do try to stop being profit-obsessed, wouldn’t they find themselves suddenly threatened by smaller and less ethical companies that would see this turnabout as an opportunity for their own profit that was simply too good to be missed? To find a solution we definitely need not only the participation of interested parties from just one part of the world, but from everyone. After all, now more than ever the economy is truly global, and unless a nuclear war sends us back to the caves, there’s no turning back.

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Dinner Talk: Religion, No Politics

Dinner Talk: Religion, No Politics Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Jamie Stark

Contact Information: jamiestark2@gmail.com Jamie Stark is an American freelancer and blogger, currently working in South and Central America. He has written on everything from the future of religion to unusual politicians to new entrepreneurism. He researches and writes about the next generation of leaders in his collaborative blog, MillennialCliff.org.

“Love doubles every time you give it.” “What is not given is lost.” “Money doesn’t buy happiness unless given to others.” These are the guidelines for a strong economy. That, according to French biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard. Matthieu Ricard speaks at the Global Economic Symposium about an economic system built on love — sound ridiculous or overdue? He’s no Alan Greenspan, but Ricard was one of the diverse voices the Global Economic Symposium brought together for economic commentary, though Ricard sticks out more than others with his shaved head and bright red robes. So far the conference has failed to birth many agreeable platitudes or solutions. The wide bandwidth of speakers and their over-educated opinions have fostered a wealth of engaging discussion and speeches. But agreement, let alone solutions we can implement, has been harder to find. In my American impatience, hyperactive since setting foot in Europe, I was waiting for the niceties to die down and the disagreements to give way to answers. At the GES kickoff, Dennis Snower, President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, asserted that competition and compassion are incompatible. That set off a firestorm of debate, led by Deutsche Bank co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen, who argued passionately that competition is compassion. The evening panel “Can Religion Help Solve Global Problems?” full of men and women who pray to different Gods, agreed compassion was the first and last step. I had finally found palatable agreement with the most diverse group present.

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Dinner Talk: Religion, No Politics

Photo by the author

“What you are supposed to find in all religion is infinite love. At least minimal love, so we are not killing each other,” Ricard said. He and countless others explained that most elements of the current human tradition could be tied to economics. Violence, poverty, promotion of the environment, it is all interconnected in our current economic system. Economics is not a negative word but a tool that can be leveraged to alleviate some human suffering. So how do we turn love of money into love of our neighbor? And isn’t that a hippy delusion more than an economic possibility? To build an economic system in which people can trust, it must be inherently human. There must be a human element. “It’s not Boy Scout nicey nice,” Ricard said, peering over his silver monk frames in between checking texts on his iPhone. Ricard described self-interest as short-sighted. Of course, he may take the example to the extreme relative to modern norms. Ricard defined the goal of amassing money as a “waste of life,” though his path to happiness is to give “one hundred percent. My balance sheet is clear.” The business leaders present talked about “culture resets” after the recession and their desire to genuinely become organizations with a human face.

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Dinner Talk: Religion, No Politics

Ricard touched on these same topics, citing Dannon’s charitable efforts as a corporation and companies that focus, in addition to profit, on making a difference through their products or existence. The unpredictability of the markets and unwieldy, faceless corporations lack a basic human element that could define more trusting, cooperative, and collaborative economic growth. Dinner moderator Klaus Schäfer, a Lutheran pastor in Germany, asserted, “Trust is not faith; it’s a decision.” It’s time that economic players at every level choose to trust one another by working purposefully with others in mind. That’s what led a Buddhist monk wearing crimson robes and très chic French socks with sneakers to tell us all that compassion is the ultimate economic generator.

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GES 2013: My Solutions for the New Bottom Billion

GES 2013: My Solutions for the New Bottom Billion Thursday, 10 October 2013

Dominika Kaczkowska

Contact Information: dominika.kaczkowska@hotmail.com European public affairs junior professional, sustainability consultant, international blogger and public speaker. She studied in Britain, China and the Netherlands. Her primary area of interest is human development, entrepreneurship, gender studies in regions of Europe and Asia. Follow @ dominika_kaczko

The Global Economic Symposium 2013 is over. Everyone has gone home to neighboring countries in Europe or faraway lands in the Americas or Asia. Either way the Symposium has ended, leaving us with tones of ideas, business cards and pictures. Having one of the worst cases of flue at one of the most important international conferences made me feel a little discontent with myself. In those two days world leaders from different industries and backgrounds arrived in Kiel to discuss world challenges and find common solutions. The sheer diversity of issues covered by the topic ensured that all the most pressing problems were on the agenda. On a personal note, I found it quite an honor to sit close to people for whom I have the greatest respect, people like Her Excellency Roza Otunbayeva, the former President of Kyrgistan and Matthieu Ricard, the French Buddhist monk also known as the ‘happiest man in the world’. I’m quite a lucky girl. At the same time I am thinking about what will happen to the solutions that we debated so passionately. Will they remain on paper? Or will somebody from Kiel carry them out into the world? Will our ideas become reality? They say that ideas are worthless unless implemented, and I agree. The symposium’s Ideas Fair, which brought together over a dozen project ideas in areas like entrepreneurship, private-public partnerships and public financing, was one attempt to turn some of these ideas into reality. I am eager to see whether this succeeds. What will happen to the New Bottom Billion, an issue I have covered in the last couple of months? Regretfully only one project had an idea about how the poor could contribute to capitalism and this was from John Hope Bryant. And I think that should be expected. Given what was said in the Development Policies for the New Bottom Billion session, I realized that no one single project or solution can be an answer, although it definitely can be a start. The New Bottom Billion challenge is complex, multilayered and interdisciplinary, and so to address it effectively, action needs to be taken simultaneously by a number of actors on a number of fronts. Although I’m not a director of an international organization or the CEO of some multinational, I have thought long and hard about what could make a positive contribution to lifting the global poor out of poverty. These are my four recommendations:

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GES 2013: My Solutions for the New Bottom Billion

Photo by Shahzeb Younas

Bring some of the New Bottom Billion to international conferences like the GES. What I found disturbing and somewhat disappointing was that while we have redefined what success is, the composition of the actual symposium remained the usual mix of top-notch leaders, managers, and directors of world organizations. Where is the average Lin who has escaped the poverty trap thanks to Chinese industrialization? Or the average Singh who thanks to international funding has opened a shop and now employs a number of people and can afford food for herself and her family? The Global Economic Symposium 2014 will take place in Malaysia. Since it is organized by a country of the South, I hope that the organizers will invite and sponsor successful ex-New Bottom Billion representatives who will share with the assembled ‘world leaders’ what has really worked for them. (And thus translate our debate on Redefining Success into practice) Provide education funding for the global poor to make them aware of what kind of choices they have Hsiao-Hung Nancy Chen, Deputy Minister of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (Taiwan) shone much light on what kind of education can empower people – an education, she insisted, which leads to self-reliance and self-awareness. Although most people associate more advanced education with higher productivity, it certainly also leads to better awareness of the choices human beings face. Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar, President and Vice Chancellor of the Universiti Teknologi MARA (Malaysia), talked about how the bottom billion youth may be at a disadvantage when it comes to getting a higher education because of their poorer exam results. He encourages top universities to fund places for students from disadvantaged backgrounds by admitting good, but not necessarily top-marks, students and giving them an environment conducive to learning.

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GES 2013: My Solutions for the New Bottom Billion

Kuala Lumpur Terence S. Jones – Flickr – CC BY 2.0 http://goo.gl/YBxcKW

Industrialization policies like those used to advance the economies and societies of Taiwan and South Korea Jean-Pierre Lehmann, emeritus professor at the International Institute for Management Development, pointed out that there are only two countries in the world which have successfully transited from low to high income economies in a relatively short time – Taiwan and South Korea. They managed to do so, he explained, because they relied on policies of strategic industrialization based on their own technocratic institutions and think tanks. And he encouraged us to study positive examples of countries which have escaped the middle-income trap. More inclusive trade through linkage of SMEs to big exporters This was a proposal put forward by challenger Samantha Morshed, founder and CEO of Hathay Bunanok, Bangladesh. Almost all countries of the world trade but it takes more than a trade to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment. The gains of the international trade must be more equaly distributed accross all parties involved. Therefore linking the local small and medium-sized businesses to the big exporters of the South would be one of the solutions. With that, I won’t tax your patience any longer but leave you with my thanks for following the official GES bloggers postings. Hopefully … see you all next year in Malaysia!

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What I took away from the GES 2013

What I took away from the GES 2013 Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Yohana de Andrade

Contact Information: yohanandrade@gmail.com Yohana de Andrade is a Brazilian journalist who has worked in São Paulo, Washington, D.C., and Buenos Aires. She is passionate about international relations, human rights, and much of her writing has a feminist perspective.

I was privileged to be a blogger at the GES 2012. It was my first time at the symposium, and I was really excited to be there and meet so many interesting people (and the fact that it was in Rio de Janeiro helped too!). So when I knew I would be at the GES 2013, I had great expectations. As I already knew how it worked, I could focus more clearly on the panels and speakers themselves and the solutions they put forward. The GES 2013 was held in Kiel, in north Germany, once more bringing together a distinguished congregation of people, and during its two days, dozens of panels presented the opinions and ideas of specialists and people from many different backgrounds. My special topic of interest this year was on the panel: “Can Religion Help Solve Global Problems?” I did my homework and in the run-up to the GES, I published posts discussing the topic from my perspective as a Brazilian and a believer. I talked about such matters as the dynamics of Protestants beliefs and African-Brazilian religions; the role of Catholicism in Brazil; how religions can empower women and address gender inequality, what religions can learn from atheism and atheism from religions, and I gave examples of global problems and how religions can help to solve them. The eagerly awaited panel itself was quite different from all the others: instead of a lecture by specialists sitting behind a table on a podium, the speakers sat at the same tables as the audience and discussed the topic over dinner. Well, the dinner itself was excellent but unfortunately the speakers at the dinner discussion didn’t offer many real solutions. I was disappointed that some questions that need to be discussed weren’t even mentioned. Questions such as: Are there lessons from religions that could be usefully applied to the financial crisis? What steps (if any) are being taken to combat gender inequality in religions? What are speakers’ opinions about fundamentalism and non-secular governments? Rather than address such issues, the speakers tended to talk in general terms about the importance of religion, and why society must end violence. I couldn’t avoid the feeling that some of these ideas being shared were neither new nor practical. Yet all was not gloom. The good news is that when I left the symposium I could pack some newly learnt lessons in my luggage. I noticed, for instance, that when the audience participated, the

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What I took away from the GES 2013

Photos taken by the author

Photo by the author

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What I took away from the GES 2013

answers from the panelists were much more interesting. I saw that the best speakers - those who really knew their stuff, knew their facts and had their statistics and examples at their fingertips were also eager to discuss them (special kudos to Irene Natividad and John Hope Bryant here!). And I learnt that everyone at the GES was first and foremost a human being, and not an academic, leader or CEO (thanks for this lesson, Matthieu Ricard!). However, the best part of these two energizing days for me was the focus of this year’s symposium – Redefining Success. What Redefining Success means is that we as a society have to rethink what we know. In practical terms this involves not just redefining what we mean by “success”, but redefining our roles, concepts and ideas. Some of these are now in the process of being redefined (think gender equality, freedom of religion, etc), but we still have a lot of work to do to focus these changes on the economy and society as a whole. What the symposium showed me is that we need to step back a moment and reflect on such questions as: - Does a person really need to be very rich to be happy? How much is rich? Where is the line between working too much and working too little? - Why do countries put so much money and effort into immigration laws and border security? Why aren’t people allowed to live anywhere they want? - Why can’t industries make more durable products, so we don’t have to buy new stuff every time? And by the way – why do we have to buy so many clothes? The central message that I took away from the symposium is that if we really analyze the world we live in, we’ll see that there are thousands of concepts that need rethinking and new definitions. Sure, big concepts and laws can be left to big politicians and CEOs and billionaires. But most ideas for changing life begin in small ways in the home, during little talks with the family or a dinner with friends. Just ask yourself: who said you have to live your life this way?

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Redefining Success: The Story of the Blind Men and the Elephant Monday, 7 October 2013

Ajinkya Pawar

Contact Information: ajinkyapawar@gmail.com Ajinkya is in the business of ideas, currently working in Publicis' India headquarters. As a strategy planner, he gets to develop creative solutions informed with an understanding of the changing world around him. He wants to continue learning new things, meeting new people and creating new ideas.

What is success? Why redefine it? What’s the deal with “sustainability”? Why is it important? If you attended the recently concluded Global Economic Symposium (GES 2013), you would have heard at least a dozen different perspectives on these questions. For some, success lies in giving people a better understanding of the world of banking and finance (because “financial illiteracy is the new slavery” according to John Hope Bryant). For some others, success is in seeing a world where women are truly given their due share and have the freedom and the means to contribute to the world. For others, it still can be found in the gross domestic product and for still others, in gross national happiness. Essentially, the symposium helped the attendees – many of them leading (grey-haired) movers and shakers on the world stage of economics, politics, and business – to think and reflect on what is truly important. The effort was to get people to acknowledge the complex world we live in and what it will take to make it a better place. The GES was as much a philosophical symposium as an economic one. People traded ideas about the world they want to live in. In the trading of these ideas, people got to know the world a little more richly. In a way, we are still the blind men in the story of the blind men and the elephant. We look at the world and see the missing piece. We feel that “if only this changes, the world would be a better place.” Yet as in that story, we see only one part of the greater world. It’s human nature to want what one is deficient in. And in my opinion, we are only truly aware of what we lack and want and not, unfortunately, of what we have and hence do not want (but is still important to us). We are blinded by our wants. We cannot progress until we see beyond and beneath them. With efforts like GES, the blind men get to talk to each other. A better world can only be realized if we talk and cooperate in realizing each other’s dreams. The conversation at GES was progressive in the context of the current world, which for the greater part of its recent history had only seen success in self-interest and accumulation of wealth (largely through extractive means). GES is facilitating and channeling the thoughts and ideas of many to enable us to see a truer view of the world. This truer view is essential if we want to ensure the fu-

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Blind men and the elephant Pawyi Lee – Wikimedia commons – http://goo.gl/Eq7nLT

ture. The question is not merely one of ecology or commerce. It is about survival and change, freedom and order, old and new. At the end of the day, everything boils down to basic human values — compassion, respect, optimism, leadership, trust, good faith. If we get it right, we are only going to prosper — economically, emotionally, and ecologically.

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Is there Security and Privacy on the Web?

Is there Security and Privacy on the Web? Wendesday, 2 October 2013

Florian Bontrup

Contact Information: florianbontrup@gmail.com Florian Bontrup (24) holds a degree in Business Administration and is currently studying Business Development and Entrepreneurship on a masters level at Leuphana University Lüneburg. Florian is member of his local city council and generally interested in politics and global challenges.

Hosted in the smallest room at the GES, the session on “Ensuring Cybersecurity” was so packed there was no space for extra seating. Panelists Illias Chantzos (Symantec), Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Internet activist, developer), John Lyons (CEO Cyberdefense Alliance) and Jamie Shea (Cybersecurity NATO) held a good and lively discussion in the limited time available. In the first half, they discussed the challenges of cybersecurity such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD); the complexity of handling different networks and dealing (on a multilateral level) with disparate standards and conditions in every single country. But besides the technical side of things, it became clear just what very hard work it is to persuade companies and governments to share their knowledge and cyber capabilities. While it is common practice in NATO to share information about weapons or even supply partners with actual weapons, there is no exchange among partners on individual cyber capabilities and possibilities. It all seems to be a matter of trust – but I would ask: If even allies don’t trust each other – and the surveillance scandal at Belgacom involving the British GHQD is just one prime example of such a lack of trust – then how can private individuals or companies trust governments all around the world? This is not only about China which, as the audience and panelists pointed out, has a really strong focus on stealing intellectual property, but also about the U.S. and Great Britain, both countries which systematically violate network security all over the world in the name of their own sacrosanct National Security. Unfortunately, the topic of surveillance was cut short at this point. Daniel Domscheit-Berg, an internet activist (WikiLeaks) and software developer was the challenger on the panel who spoke in favor of privacy. He claimed that nowadays nobody is really able to trust the software and hardware they use – when everything comes out of a mysterious black box. Daniel pointed out that the documents leaked by Edward Snowden strongly suggest that the NSA has built backdoors into encryption standards and could well have corrupted the production process of computer chips in order to get access to every encryption process worldwide. So what we are facing is a complete breakdown of trust. To address this, he proposed that more and more hard-

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Is there Security and Privacy on the Web?

Jared – CC BY 2.0

ware should be tested and verified by independent developers to enable people to trust in the services they use. Sadly this was a proposal that none of the other panelists took up. So how do we deal with cybersecurity? This is an issue that has increasingly come to the forefront, and everybody agreed that politicians and company leaders are now much more aware of it than they were three years ago. But is such heightened awareness enough? I guess not. Nowadays nobody can really be sure of their online security or that their private data really does stay private. None of the experts on the panel believed that the cloud is a really safe place and of course their lack of confidence has major implications. It might seem provoking but it is simply a truism that there is only a certain level of security on the web and that level is pretty limited. So what can we do? Maybe we should all follow the example of the expert on encryption and privacy on the panel Daniel Domscheit-Berg who manages without a tablet or a smartphone. But as the tweet by Mario Sorgalla above underlines, this is not exactly the most attractive option for most of us.

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The Future of Europe: A Hub of Innovation

The Future of Europe: A Hub of Innovation Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Dragos C. Costache

Contact Information: tsavatar@gmail.com Dragos is a Romanian freelance writer currently living in Stockholm. His background is in Sociology and Political Science and he is particularly interested in Migration and EU affairs.

In the previous weeks I have written about some of the shortcomings of the EU and how they might be addressed. My main focus was on structural weaknesses and ways to address them individually and on a general push for a leaner laissez-faire state decisive and courageous enough to intervene in times of crisis. But there is one critical topic I have avoided so far, one that has cropped up quite a bit at the Global Economic Symposium: innovation. A good straightforward point worth repeating was made in the opening plenary session by John Bryant who said that our all-consuming goal as individuals in a market society has become to make money, even though money is a by-product of a market society, not an end goal. The end goal should be to excel at something, and if Europe has ever excelled at anything it has been innovation. Innovation has been the basis of European development for over the past five centuries and the engine that has propelled Europe and the western world in general forward. There is, however, a widespread feeling that Europe has now lost its drive for innovation which has been strangled by bureaucratic regulations and labor union demands. This is, unfortunately, not far from the truth. Europe is over-regulated in a lot of fields and vested interests in both the labor and employer sectors are indeed throttling its competitiveness. And the euro crisis has done little to improve that. Meanwhile, pockets of the eurozone have been flourishing in the teeth of adversity. Ireland, one of the countries hardest hit by the recession, has had a booming high tech sector because of the measures it has taken. And this is what the EU needs. This and the magic of the German Mittelstand. Mittelstand is a German term meaning the medium-sized enterprise sector, and more and more economists nowadays are attributing the German economic miracle to the success of such medium-sized enterprises. Over the years they have thrived in an environment that encourages competition and private investment, and have offered continual employment to a strong German blue-collar working class. The Mittelstand is Capitalism in its purest form, a company that is big enough to make an impact and generate wealth in its host community yet is not ‘too big to fail’ or even too big to adapt to market changes. And surprisingly enough, it’s from some of these medium-sized enterprises that the biggest innovations have emerged. This is exactly the type of labor and investment environment that a United Europe should strive to create. While there is no competing with countries like China and the Asian tigers in terms of cost, European industry can compete on the turf of quality and innovation. Only to do so, it must first

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The Future of Europe: A Hub of Innovation

Photo by the author

nurture a strong market economy and more competitiveness and break free of the welfare state tailspin. The sustainable energy sector, even though beset right now by a whole host of problems, could be the initial boost that the European economy so desperately needs. A re-envisioned energy infrastructure that would take full advantage of the reusable energy resources around Europe, from stillfaulty wind in the prosperous North to the limitless potential of solar in the economically depressed south could be the catalyst for such an industrial upturn. What’s more, Europe is in dire need of sustainability and energy independence, and there is an oft irrational resistance to nuclear power nearly everywhere. But sustainability and energy independence are impossible goals given the current angry bickering between EU states and an economic climate resistant if not outright hostile to market forces. The EU can flourish industrially and become a new post-war Germany. But this will never happen without strong German leadership and European cooperation in a market-friendly environment. And right now all of the above are singularly lacking. But if I’ve learned anything here in Kiel, it is that there is a desire afoot to save Europe and there are also the people with the right know-how to do it.

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The Kids Have the Answers

The Kids Have the Answers Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Jamie Stark

Contact Information: jamiestark2@gmail.com Jamie Stark is an American freelancer and blogger, currently working in South and Central America. He has written on everything from the future of religion to unusual politicians to new entrepreneurism. He researches and writes about the next generation of leaders in his collaborative blog, MillennialCliff.org.

“Let me be surrounded by luxury, I can do without the necessities.” An audience member brought up that quote from author Oscar Wilde in response to the tone of the closing plenary of the Global Economic Symposium in Kiel, Germany. Indeed, the entire conference contained moments of rich guys in suits espousing their paradoxical visions for economic systems that continually grow and yet preserve limited resources. Familiar buzz phrases were thrown about: incorporate social causes, foster entrepreneurship, do more with less. Eventually the panelists found agreement that there exists an unsustainable cultural preference for money over all other aspects of life that lead to happiness. The Buddhist monk wasn’t the only one espousing this opinion. Victor Chu, Chairman of the First Eastern Investment Group in Hong Kong, closed out the 2013 Global Economic Symposium with his thoughts on the progression of business culture. “When I was growing up, the most honored companies were the ones that created the most returns for investors,” Chu said. He said “high return for investors” was the buzz phrase decades ago, and it remains by and far the goal of his Hong Kong-based investment company. “Now, when I ask my daughter what she thinks are good companies, she talks about a social element, companies that do good in the community like Nestle and Unilever; they are making good things, food, for people, and they are doing things in the community,” Chu pointed out. The banker was pointing out an often forgotten axiom: the future is already here. It’s just younger than you. Chu implied his generation needs to do more getting out of the way. He was one of the few speak-

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The Kids Have the Answers

Photo by Mario Sorgalla

ers who focused on the tangible future, youth, and aggressively advocated opening the table to the sustainable opinions already being cultivated in younger hearts and minds. These aren’t “sustainable” in the hippy or green sense of the word but sustainable in that they are human-centered, trust-building, long-term cultural changes that can benefit everyone engaged in our economic system. Lip service about businesses and institutions regaining trust will turn into noticeable progress over time as Millennial opinions are incorporated into the way of doing business and as future generations are allowed to hone the changes further. The Millennial generation, also known as Gen Y, already feels this way. The markets will naturally incorporate some of their ideas for the pure sake of appealing to their enormous Gen Y market. But incorporating their ideas about workplace flexibility and doing good in the workplace can happen without forgoing the years of wisdom earned from current leaders. Millennial ideas have their own place in the market without being forced in, but they can certainly be incorporated by the current leadership. “I have to incorporate my daughter’s viewpoint into everything, or when she inherits it, she’ll get rid of it all,” Chu said to laughter from the closing crowd. “It’s practical, you see?”

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Future Challenges Germany

Future Challenges Germany

Wintermann, Ole

Kleimann, Nicole

Senior Project Manager, Bertelsmann Stiftung Head of Project @futurechall_org (ow)

Assistant, Bertelsmann Stiftung Future Challenges @futurechall_org (nk)

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Future Challenges US | External Support

Future Challenges US

External Support

Guess, Anneliese

Sorgalla, Mario

Project Manager, Bertelsmann Foundation Megatrends, Global Futures @futurechall_org (ag)

Online Community Manager Future Challenges @futurechall_org (ms)

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Global Economic Symposium: Redefining Success