Back to SchoolEditorial preamble:
1.1 BACK TO SCHOOL
Learn Unlearn and Relearn
It’s that time of the year when everyone sits back and takes stock of life, the universe and everythingaround them. We make resolutions, wish everyone a great and wonderful year to come, and predictionsrain heavier than the most elusive monsoons. 2010, however, as the ancient Chinese would say promisesto provide interesting times to live in. There’s just so much change happening around the world, politically, economically and sociologically, that most of us are not even going to realise we’re livinghistory until much later. It’s also the time of the year when listmania rules, best of, worst of,
. So wethought we’d compile our own list of trends we want to watch out for, at home and abroad.
Miles to go
Despite all the optimistic projections about economic recovery and the end of global recession, keep avery, very wary eye out for that double dip. Or a slow, grinding, painful recovery, something they used tocall ‘structural adjustment’ in the early 1990s. The Indian economy was never as busted as the rest, so therecovery now does not at all reflect what’s happening around the world.
The trouble with teenagers
That famous demographic, the one India Inc is so proud of, should soon start to make itself heard, felt andseen. One of the biggest challenges for Indian business and government will be dealing with a young,restless and demanding workforce, not to mention an equally-young and aggressive poor anddisenfranchised population. Besides, the world is going to become a much more difficult place to travelaround and work in. Every border is tightening, in both economic and security terms.
The rise and rise of China
Sorry, Chindia, as they used to call it, or even Bric, is dead as a dodo. Despite all the talk about balance of economic power shifting east etc, don’t imagine India and China are still in the same bracket. The sheer global economic clout of China, now puts China in a league way beyond anything India or the other Bricnations can touch in the near future. It’s the G2 now, US and China. Expect a lot more from ‘Obama inBeijing’ moments. The writing on the wall is in Chinese.
The return of ideology
Capitalism, like many thought, isn’t going away. But perhaps the single-biggest change to business after the global recession is the return of ideology - concepts like social utility, justice, public good, humancosts and role of corporates in society. These supposedly soft issues are keeping corporate boards awakethese nights. CSR moves from glossy brochures to the front of annual reports.
Those bankers, again
On the same lines, banking has dominated much of the last year. Next year, they can kick, scream,threaten and plot as much as they like, and hope the issue will go away when things improve, but toomuch lasting damage would have been done. Maybe later than sooner, they’re going to accept that thosearteries are clogged, and they need to change their lifestyle. As a corollary, casino financial activities willmove into even more arcane, private and mysterious entities, and we suspect we’ll have yet another scamat any time sooner or later.