How the convention topic of 2016 becomes a call to action.
Looking back at the start of 2016 almost feels like reading an ancient history book for me – much has changed in global politics and economy since then. Back in those days preparing the World Business Dialogue 2016, we examined a changing understanding of the globalisation process: complex economic interdependencies, the challenges of catching up with new, disruptive technologies, and political factors such as instability in the middle east – an aftermath of the Arab Spring – resulted in declining trade volume, rising protectionism and nationalism, and a general sense of unpleasant uncertainty.
Globalisation Disrupted? Hell yeah!
We expressed all these thoughts with one simple question: “Globalisation Disrupted?”. A question which also embodied the topic for the 2016 edition of the World Business Dialogue.
Now in 2017, this question rather seems rhetorical: Globalisation Disrupted? Hell yeah!
The good news is that companies are finally utilising the possibilities of new technologies for their business models. The bad news is that the global landscape has turned upside down, leaving us with even greater levels of uncertainty than in 2016. The fear and protectionism in western societies paved the way for Donald Trump’s election as US President and Britain’s resolution to leave the European Union as well as the rise of strong
right-wing parties almost across the EU. Although the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation predict a recovery for the global economy and increasing trade volume in the mid-term future, they emphasise that the extent of global growth will highly depend on government policies of the G20 nations. However, the latest G20 summit in Hamburg showed us that the international community still cannot find a common agenda to solve the crisis in the Middle East (the latest escalation in the Gulf region has worsened the situation even more). Their struggle to execute the Paris climate agreement or to effectively harmonise fiscal and monetary policies continues to retain the uncertainty. The possible implementation of restrictive measures makes the global recovery a risky endeavour (and a possible third world war that’s only a 120-character tweet away, won’t help either to restore confidence).
Inspire, Enable, Act!
Now the question is, how can each and every one of us help to shift us away from destructive protectionism, distrust and egoism?
For me, the motto of the World Business Dialogue provides the perfect answer: Inspire, Enable, Act!
Share your ideas and visions and be open for new perspectives, be supportive and don’t shy away from asking for help in the community. But most importantly: Act. One person does not need to solve the global inequality problem on one’s own, but if we try to tackle a problem in our surroundings, we all can contribute to a bigger change. This is what the World Business Dialogue community stands for and what the Dialogue is all about. And also, it is what the world currently needs the most.
In 2016 we tried to find out if globalisation is disrupted or not. Now, let’s take the current state of the world as an alarming signal to disrupt globalisation ourselves – but for the better. So spread the spirit of the World Business Dialogue and let’s get started.
Author: Philipp Pauquet
Philipp is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Supply Chain Management at the University of Cologne. He was a member of the organizing team from 2014-2016 and spent one year in the Board of Management of the OFW – the organization that runs the World Business Dialogue.