behind the Dutch Government’s current, random looking cost reductions,
which have not been adequately communicated, is that the future will require
an improved integration in and between the agricultural, industrial
and the automation age, adapting and improving upon our current knowledge
base in order to stay abreast with global competition which will only
intensify in the next coming decades.
For many cultures, globalization is perceived as “the West over the
rest”. Ideas, politics, and technology are seen and viewed as following
in the footsteps of explorers, missionaries, and soldiers. These gaps
in a shared and common set of values and respect must be bridged in order
to build the atmosphere for a sustained and stable expansion in the world
economy. Thus the human rights norms and values that are the prerequisite
of globalization must be promoted with both a sense of urgency and with
an improved understanding and respect for cultural diversity.
On a global scale it remains to be seen what values will be shared and
which individuals and communities will shape them. Who will participate
in these decisions and who will decide them? Will free trade be tied to
workers' rights, hurting Third World companies and benefiting comparatively
rich Western workers? Will Third World economies be forced to adopt First
World intellectual property protection, harming their infant industries?
Will the new concentration of information content and conduits restrict
access to fundamental enlightenment? In short, how will 21st-century
humanity divide and hopefully narrow the gap between those who will prosper
and those who are left trailing behind in their standard of life?
In addition to the above Western, and indeed the advanced Asian, economies
also have to face the historically unprecedented fact that our populations
are living longer than ever before with replacement rates which have fallen
dramatically from past norms such that the number of people working to
support both the young and aged are decreasing as each year passes. Combined
with this is the additional factor that the age of retirement, set in
the early 20th century was based closely on the average life expectancy
rates of 67-70 years, such that the old age pension was limited in its
applicability to a few years only. With advances in medical science (itself
an expensive cost to society) persons of today’s pensionable age can expect
to draw their pensions for an average of 20 years after retirement, well
beyond the actuarial models of 80 years ago when they were universally
established in the modern industrial societies.
How does one address these issues and communicate them in such a way that
people will accept the reality that these changes can no longer be ignored
and that society will have to adapt their perception and the reality of
the new dynamics and what they need to do themselves to continue to enjoy
a sustainable living standard for themselves and their future progeny
into the future. The debate needs to begin about raising the age of retirement
to 70 (why not, as the average person remains healthy well into the seventies)
and people need to reduce their consumption of their present assets and
save them for the future.
Bearing these demographic trends in mind, we will turn once again to the
issue of globalization, but one would be crazy and negligent to ignore
them when looking at Globalization in its traditional context and they
will have a profound impact on the ability of the existing wealth generation
nations to keep pace with the effects of the emerging younger nations
participation and exploitation of the benefits of globalization.
The forces of globalization are proclaimed to carry prosperity to a civilization
spanning the planet. This civilization is defined by those with access
to capital, education, and advanced communications conduits and content.
This is the epidermis of humanity. It does not yet run deep. The great
challenge is to render horizontal trends vertical so the benefits reach
those who are outcast from globalization's feast. The point of globalization
is not that it is global. The point of globalization is that it
is local. It is a rising common demand for human dignity amongst
all involved that has to be both recognized and addressed with urgency
as we move further into the 21st Century. Increased human mobility, capital
flows, free trade, multinational organizations and technology, make the
world’s economies more interdependent than ever. Multinational corporations
manufacture products in one country, process them in another and design
marketing in yet another, while selling to consumers around the world.
This process spurs the movement of money and raw materials. Traffic of
products and finances advances the exchange of ideas and cultures. As
a result, laws, economies, and social movements are re-forming at the
international level the planet over.
Politicians, academics, and experts commonly lump these trends together
the term "globalization." But what does "globalization" really mean? Who
are its winners and losers? Is it inevitable? How can or should it be
controlled? The answers to these questions suggest that globalization
is more than an overstretched "buzz word" and is actually a clear set
of ideas, trends, and practices.
Advances in communication and transportation technology, combined with
free-market ideology, have given goods, services and capital unprecedented
mobility. Northern countries want to open world markets to their goods
and take advantage of abundant cheap labour in the South, policies often
supported by Southern elites.
They use international financial institutions and regional trade agreements
to compel poor countries to "integrate" by reducing tariffs, privatizing
state enterprises, and relaxing environmental and standards. The results
have enlarged profits for investors but offered pittances to labourers,
provoking a strong backlash from civil society. This position paper analyzes
economic globalization and examines how it might be constrained or regulated
in order to promote sustainable development.
Many of the cash rich companies on the globe will act according to their
own interests and whilst some may be willing to go along others may refuse
to do so, and it will be the level of this unmanaged response which will
determine the new global economic decorum under which we will live and
work in our organizations, wherever we live in the world.
The shifting global economic equilibrium in terms of GDP growth and dominance,
which we in the West have enjoyed since the end of WWII, can no longer
be sustained at its recent historic levels as we will be required to share
this wealth increase more evenly in the future with the emerging world
The new global GDP equalization, driven by the emerging forces and effects
of the lower wage and increasing educated talent in Asia, Eastern Europe,
South America will increasingly play a more and more leading role and
will force us to re-invent our society locally in order for us to continue
to play an active role in this new GDP equivalency of some 1,5 billion
people and growing fast….!
So bearing in mind the above, is the political reality driving and
preparing us for these events?
No politician today, yet has had the guts to confront the country and
to present them with these harsh realities. So what we see are (apparently)
confusing acts of change, focused on the issues of social welfare structure
as we knew them until recently, without outlining the real message as
described above, as such a message would be considered political suicide
by the ruling parties!
The ultimate change process as described above needs a firm roll out of
a manifest, functioning as a Scope of Work outlining the actions which
need to be taken, including the full phased schedule of programs which
will move society to meet the new challenges ahead and to forget the assumption
that we can, without really altering our life style, continue to improve
our living standards and if needs be to force feed the population and
to get them to understand what really is happening outside in the bigger
New innovation, a knowledge economy, knowledge transfer are the
current buzz words. Are they possible given the current constraints? Yes
they are! We need to re-invigorate and re-build our make industry
base as relying for our future prosperity and wealth creation through
service industries alone will not alone provide the basis for a sustainable
future competitiveness in the world markets. We will have to restructure
our society to adjust their perceptions and their acceptance of living
under affordable conditions both working, as well as in their pastimes,
recreation and what they can realistically expect society to provide them
in their old age.
The ones thinking we can stay living of the “lean back” attitude, being
busy with some services industries, transportation Pension funds and insurance
company activities alone are dead wrong and any form of innovation will
not be sufficient in the longer term. Being globally competitive, under
the most innovative ways of working and production has to be the real
ongoing strategy. Our population demographics increase the urgency of
addressing the core issues of what the citizen believes they have the
right to expect from the State and who will pay the bill when we face,
for the first time in history, the reality of an ever decreasing percentage
of working people who have to support the very young as well as the aged.
The future in The Netherlands will be a mixture of the agricultural
revolution, the industrial revolution, the automation revolution and,
if we are lucky, our knowledge society will take a leading role in creating
this drive towards a new modernized format, providing for new working
conditions, living conditions, advanced traffic conditions and transport
means. In addition, and above all society should accept that rather than
reducing the age of retirement, it needs to be prolonged.
The need to bring the global equilibrium in world economics to a sustainable
healthy state again will require an effective change in their current
buying power perceptions and the attitude towards and the acceptance of
a longer working life as the overall costs of the status we would like
to continue to enjoy is unsustainable on the truly global basis.
about Global Economy can be found at the conference about
future of Global Economy'
and the sections with
Peter R. Luiks speaks
at the conference about
future of ICT