Friday, October 31, 2008

The Future

Daniel Silk, a futurist and political and economic commentator, delivered an address at the recent Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) Congress held in Port Elizabeth. This is what he said about our future:-

1. Emerging Market Century – The golden age for emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa has arrived and activity in these economies has been likened to a second industrial revolution (hopefully cleaner and greener this time.)

2. Consumerism – Although this trend has been forcibly checked by the recent economic meltdown, Daniel still predicts that this is the hallmark of our economic reality going forward.

3. Connectivity – Cheap, if not free, internet connectivity allowing for a quick and widely available flow of information.

4. Ethics – Sharper and more savvy consumers forcing ethical capitalism. An increase in power of civic organisations and NGO’s protecting the rights of consumers.

5. Global Natural Resources Grab – It is predicted that wars will be fought and peace treaties signed on the basis of the need for resources. Oil is an obvious one but even water is becoming a scarce resource. Israel and Syria recently put centuries old acrimony to one side to jointly discuss water issues in that part of the world.

6. Judged By Global Rankings – Rankings and ratings agencies give the public accurate information about what is working and what is not working.

7. New Contenders For Power – New players are taking roles of power including companies, individuals, rating agencies and NGO’s. The credit crunch has resulted in the gap between rich and developing economies growing smaller. Organisations like Google and Yahoo determine what information is prioritised and also wield a lot of power.

8. Living Longer – Humans live for longer and elderly people are starting to become a major player as a group of consumers as well as voters.

9. Human Mobility – Vast groups of people move around for economic and other reasons and it is becoming increasingly difficult to control this trend.

10. Knowledge Economy – Knowledge and expertise are becoming commodities which command ever increasing asking price.

As you can see from the above, there is a lot of opportunity available for people and organisations adapting to the changing times and pitching themselves appropriately.


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