are far fewer workers to pay taxes to fund government social payouts – thus exacerbating the issue.
The research for our book has shown that there is little need to be concerned about oil and energy shortages. This is not least because green energy is developing at breakneck speed, compounded by the fact that crude oil prices are likely to remain low in the foreseeable future. More worrying, however, are food and water – more precisely, a shortage of quality food and clean water. While junk- and
Harnessing the power of megatrends can lead to intelligent choices. We can come to better decisions low-quality food are likely to be linked to various health conditions, a lack of clean water would have significant social implications and tear up the fabric of society. As a population, we have also demonstrated extreme wastefulness – throwing away everything from food, to plastic bags and containers, to electronics. Together with the rapid
Dialogue Q2 2018
depletion of natural resources, these wasteful actions have lately prompted a movement called the circular economy, which focuses on prolonging the lives of, or even reusing, materials and objects.
The fact that there exists a wide gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ is now well-known. Yet governments have done very little to diﬀuse this time bomb, which, in the long run, would cause significant damage to our society. Just observe the recent tax cuts in the US, which past research has repeatedly shown to benefit wealthy individuals over the economically underprivileged. At the same time, various other inequalities are also emerging. One of them is age. Many current regulations, such as the rigid employment law in place in many countries, favour the older generations, leading to fewer new positions for the younger ones. And then there is capital inequality: government and financial regulations tend to favour debt over share-financing, leading both individuals and corporates to rely on money that they don’t have.
Volatility, scale and complexity
If the ‘haves’ are gaining more, while the ‘have-nots’ are getting
less over time, then what about those in the middle-income group? The answer: since the mid-1980s, this very group has been receiving less, even though the economic pie is, overall, growing bigger; they are going in the direction of the ‘have-nots’. The reason: the arrival of digital technologies that have subsequently eliminated plenty of white-collar jobs. In the very near future, robotics and artificial intelligence are likely going to lead to further job displacements, with greater speed and scale.
Technologies by themselves have little – either positive or negative – impact; it is usually how businesses use them that realizes the true potential of technologies. Just witness the swift emergence of drones. Their real strength is brought out by businesses – stretching from farming and insurance, to retailing.
HOW DRIVE CAN INSPIRE THE AREA OF FINANCE Recently, two advertisements have appeared on the London Underground. Both feature the latest products from a major UK high-street bank. The first