Vision - 8 Key Global Trends
Our understanding of the world, and of our place in it, is defined by 8 key global trends. We monitor these to ensure that our services and strategic vision are fit for purpose in a world of accelerating, transformational change. We observe the impact of these trends on our clients, business sectors and geographies in which we work.
Globalisation & the Wealth Effect
Globalisation has caused a wealth effect: a massive growth in personal wealth either due to millions of new billionaires and millionaires, or due to mass affluence and the emergence of trophy symbols like smartphones, automobiles and apparel. At present, the financial assets of only some of the global wealthy are over $ 360 trillion, more than combined global GDP ($ 90 trillion) or global stock market valuations (Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, 2019).
We live in an era of unprecedented financialisation. This is seen in financial leverage strategies, which allow banks to securitise debt and treat this as a secondary asset. This is seen in the role of Central Banks, which can mandate new asset creation through credit policies, and assign these to the physical banking network. This is seen in the rise of Fintech.
Demographic Change, Aging and Internal Migration
National demographic change is transforming wealth, assets and productivity. In Europe, we have an aging population, changing the ratio of working people to retirees. People are living longer. Immigration within the EU (e.g. from Poland to England) has created internal social and geopolitical tension. The inability to absorb different cultures and religions in global cities such as London, Paris or Brussels is creating significant current and future problems. Most capital and major cities now account for the majority of population and economic activity.
Demographic Change and Global Population
Global population continues to rise. We are now over 7.7 billion and forecast to hit nearly 10 billion by 2100. The majority of growth is coming from Asia and Africa. This will create new economic competition, new environmental pressure and new migration tensions, as well as new investment and economic opportunities. This will also create international migration tension, as the current situation in Libya, Turkey and Greece indicate.
Inequality and Poverty
Inequality is expressed both in terms of (a) the control of wealth and political power held by the elites in single countries, such as the United States, and (b) the control of wealth between the First World and the Third World. The struggle to redistribute wealth in a globalised economy full of tax havens is a defining struggle of our times. It will be lost.
Climate Change and the Anthropocene Era
We have now entered the Anthropocene era. The impact of man on our geological and planetary environment is not in doubt. Global warming means that by 2030, we will have reached a tipping point after which catastrophic impacts cannot be averted. All the signs are that we will reach this point. Together with overpopulation, this calls for a fundamentally new means of organising our society. Together with inequality, this probably means we will fail.
Digital Transformation and Human Bioengineering
The rise of immersive and ubiquitous digital technology is fundamentally changing the way human society, politics and the economy operate. We have already seen the impact of fake news on elections. As technology progresses, we will live increasingly in a digital world, which will be more attractive than the real one. Together with other advances in robotics, biotechnology, genetic engineering and others, we will soon be entering a new biological era.
The Rise of China
China is intent on becoming the new global superpower by 2050. This means it will have the largest economy (already the case in purchasing power terms) and will be able to set the terms of global trade and defence. This means that China will increasingly exercise geopolitical control areas of the Pacific Ocean it sees as vital to its national interest. How peaceful this rise will be remains the central political question of our age.