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2017
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Global Times, August 8, 2017
 

The public seems only to notice the G when the media announces the world's wealthiest nations are meeting once more in some town or another. The 2017 annual G20 - including the US, China, Argentina, Australia, India, Germany and so on - recently met in Hamburg, Germany. Previously the heads-of-states and their many ministers had met in Hangzhou, China; Serik, Turkey; Brisbane, Australia - and originally in 2008 in Washington, DC, though their finance ministers had met annually following the 1998 Asian financial crash.

These headline-grabbing meetings of heads-of-state are important because the leaders are accompanied by a phalanx of advisors who also conduct planned and informal meetings that keep the world's economies synchronized. These policymakers are in the same towns at the same time.

These meetings attract protesters, raising costs for local organizers, who must pay for police or army protection, but in general the host cities benefit strongly in their hospitality sectors, as they host top leaders, assistants and security guards. Generally over 10,000 delegates attend.

There are those who argue that the G8 and especially the G20 have become obsolete as they offer too many competing visions of the proper role of governments. The arguments were first mooted by US political scientists Ian Bremner and David Gordon in 2011, who noted that there are too many local management issues that are not aligned to a single world order that was originally sought by the G20 and G8 decades ago. Indeed, today, one may agree that as populist movements have become more demanding, governments acquiesce to their demands and one finds global powers emasculated by local issues. This is quite evident in the US and to an extent throughout Europe as its member states oscillate between policies. The strong economies seem to be more inclined to "multi-multilateralism" as coined by American political scientist Francis Fukuyama, wherein nations adopt multi-diverse and sometimes contradictory stances.

Surely Asia is becoming the globe's leading economic force - but its nations are not fully aligned, nor are they all at the same level of economic development. However China is strongly asserting a form of leadership via its Belt and Road initiative, and formal meetings like ASEAN, or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Economic and social development is a slow process aided sometimes by cross-border meetings - such as the "16+1" platform of Central and Eastern European countries plus China that discuss economic cooperation in infrastructure, high-tech and green initiatives. Populists demand instant solutions that might be granted in part by a government, but leaders do not engage in the much more difficult issues like arguing that better education costs money. The results of such policy changes take a long time to come to fruition. It is not easy to convince the mass of people to hope for a better future when in fact many in government wish to be contrarian and extend government debt via the financial markets. But we all know borrowing money we cannot pay back is the way to ruin.

The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer states the general population's trust in all four key institutions - business, government, NGOs, and media - has declined broadly, a phenomenon not seen since Edelman began tracking trust among this segment in 2012. Perhaps it is time that business leaders took over. Many CEOs guiding their multinational firms understand the nuances of different cultures, but even their skill does not fit them well for diplomatic life. US President Donald Trump provides an example - liking the idea of being a president but not liking constant pressure in the public eye: national leaders have no privacy. Again, in the US, the appointment of a new president requires about 4,000 administrative posts to be changed, of which over 1,200 are senior leaders requiring Senate approval after the president's nomination. But many US vacancies in these positions threaten to impede essential government functions. With a lack of trade commissioners multi-billion-dollar mergers may stall, tax and budget policy may go unwritten, securities fraud may go unpoliced, labor complaints may go unaddressed, and the crucial midlevel relationships that bind the US to foreign allies may deteriorate.

Chinese government officials have said they are not, as a nation, inclined to geographic expansion. History has illustrated this, and their future does not include this. However, China is globally the second most powerful economy and the first, the US, is apparently uninterested in its own national economic well-being as it is entering the government summer recess with nothing tabled to address its own $1.1 trillion budget that it needs by September 29. If this is not agreed, the US government has to partially shut down and global financial markets will shudder. That unwelcome externality will threaten China slightly.

In 1951 American writer Isaac Asimov's Foundation was published. In this science fiction narrative he proposed that psychohistory - a combination of history, sociology and mathematical statistics - could make general predictions about the behavior of large groups of people. That concept was a wild prediction of the future power of computers - but even today, big data analysis in combination with deep artificial intelligence is not close to Asimov's utopian view. Without science fiction as a reality we need regular meetings between leaders to speak openly about the state of each nation and their hopes for their futures. By expressing views openly, clashes of civilizations may be avoided by multistakeholder discussions. We need to return to the G20 or something akin to that group and avoid the nemesis of G-Zero.

This is not an easy issue to solve. Rather than enlarge the G20 I think we must grant China a stronger voice: Chinese President Xi Jinping has already expressed his desire to champion globalization which will play a key role in further developing and guiding the G20, and China's Belt and Road initiative will support this aim.

 

The author is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community.

 


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